Genocide survivors from around the country on Monday held a peaceful demonstration against the latest acquittals by the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda.
The participants, many of them youth, braved the rain as they marched from the RDB offices at Gishushu to the ICTR offices near Amahoro stadium. They carried banners with messages such as "the international community failed in their responsibilities to protect Tutsis from being killed, now it is failing to provide justice to survivors," "We implore the ICTR to stop disrespecting genocide survivals," "We are against any judge who disrespects genocide survivors", etc.
At the ICTR offices, the demonstrators accused the tribunal of having failed to provide justice despite its financial muscle. "You didn't stop the Genocide, you can't provide justice for survivors, you have to go! You are acquitting Genocidaires," the protestors shouted.
The head of the Genocide survivors association IBUKA, Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, said that despite a budget of US$ 250 million a year, ICTR has failed to provide justice and is on the contrary contributing to Genocide denial. "When you decide that individuals like Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza are clean on genocide accusations, and yet that they were part of the government which planned and executed the Genocide against the Tutsis, you are becoming valueless in providing justice."
The head of Ibuka said that these acquittals are a smack in the face of Genocide survivors. "The ICTR has delivered nothing for either the victims or the survivors of the Genocide, delivering no compensation for the horrific atrocities committed during the Genocide. We are against these outrageous acquittals; releasing perpetrators is a denial of the Genocide, a failure of justice and a clear signal of impunity. We feel insulted by these acquittals," Dusingizemungu remarked.
Ibuka requests the government to appoint a representative at the ICTR for the benefit of Rwandans. "The ICTR is acting inhumanly. When it closes shop, there will be nothing to remember about it if not the insane decisions it has made," one of the protesters told The Rwanda Focus.
A similar march was organized in November 2009 after the release of Protais Zigiranyirazo, commonly known as Mister Z, and a catholic priest named Hormisdas Nsengimana.
Since its inception in late 1994, ICTR has only completed 72 cases with 10 of them being acquittals.