Launch of online platform for victims

Monday May 20 2019

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Rwandan graduates Genocide Survivors have been at the forefront of digitising memorials of families completely wiped out during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

LEONCE MUVUNYI
By LEONCE MUVUNYI
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Groupe des Anciens Etudiants et Elèves Rescapés du Genocide (GAERG) continue their work of digitising memorials of all the victims who lost their lives during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

GAERG is an organisation founded by Rwandan graduates Genocide Survivors.

According to available figures that were made public during the commemoration of the victims on May 11 in Nyanza District, around 15,593 families of 68,871 members were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“We are going to launch an online platform, which will be progressively updated as the information becomes available, with all the names of the families who lost their lives,” said Egide Gatari, the president of GAERG.

“The platform will be useful for further research on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi; to keep alive the memory of those who were killed by remembering their names, good acts and achievements,” Mr Gatari added.

According to the research, a family is considered completely exterminated when the husband, wife and their children are all killed.

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Current data shows that Karongi District has the highest number of exterminated families at 2,839 people. Nyamagabe District has 1,535 families while Ruhango District has 1,136 exterminated families.

Only Burera District has no record of exterminated families.

By digitisation records of the exterminated families of the completely wiped out families memorials, GAERG will document all the names of the victims, their pictures, where they were living, how and where they were killed, their neighbours’ testimonies about what they were like and their achievements.

The government had previously said over Rwf1 billion was needed for the first phase of digitising genocide memorial archives, put together during the Inkiko Gacaca. Minister for Justice Johnston Busingye pledged government support for more research on exterminated families.

However, as time passes, information on exterminated families becomes more challenging to get.

Mr Busingye said the government is calling on GAERG to create a comprehensive database, which details all the information on the exterminated families, which could be a good foundation for further research on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Researchers said that having all these families wiped out shows the level of determination of the genocide perpetrators to exterminate the Tutsi in Rwanda, and urged the GAERG to work with remorseful genocide perpetrators for further documentation.

“Remorseful genocide convicts could provide more information about exterminated families,” said Antoine Mugesera, a researcher at GAERG.

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