By New Times
HARARE: A senior government official in Zimbabwe has indicated that Harare is committed to cooperating in bringing to justice perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, saying there cannot be justice and lasting peace without full accountability.
Zimbabwe’s acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Professor Amon Murwira, said this at the commemorations of the 29th anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi held at the Embassy of Rwanda in Harare on Friday.
“The primary responsibility to prevent and stop genocide lies with all of us,” Professor Murwira told Rwandans living in Zimbabwe, diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe, the business community and friends of Rwanda.
“On that note let me reaffirm Zimbabwe’s commitment to provide support to all international and continental efforts to bring to book those responsible for genocide in Rwanda and elsewhere. We believe there cannot be justice and lasting peace without full accountability.”
Professor Murwira said Zimbabwe and Rwanda are implementing various legal instruments that are aimed at ensuring lasting justice and accountability such as the Extradition Treaty and the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal matters which were signed in July 2022.
In March 2021, Rwanda’s the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit (GFTU) indicated that it had issued 1,146 indictments and arrest warrants against Genocide fugitives in 33 countries.
As noted, the biggest number, 408, was in the neighbouring DR Congo, 277 in Uganda; 63 in Malawi, 52 in Tanzania, 47 in France, 42 in Congo Brazzaville, and 40 are in Belgium. At the time, two Genocide suspects were believed to be in Zimbabwe.
The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT), on May 12, 2022, confirmed that top genocide fugitive Maj Protais Mpiranya died on October 5, 2006, in Harare, Zimbabwe. This revelation brought to an end a 20-year manhunt for the fugitive who ranked high on the list of the masterminds of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
During the genocide against the Tutsi, Mpiranya was a commander of the presidential guard, an elite military unit that is blamed for the slaughter of top politicians in the immediate aftermath of the death of former President Juvenal Habyarimana on the night of April 6. In the early hours of April 7, 1994, elements of the presidential guard under his command quickly assassinated Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, before detaining and murdering 10 Belgian peacekeepers who guarded her residence.
“The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is a dark chapter not only in the history of the Republic of Rwanda but for the entire humanity. It is an acutely painful moment of torment, heartache and human suffering,” Professor Murwira said.
“Therefore the commemoration is a vital opportunity to recall the tragic events of the Genocide and reaffirm our commitment to ensure that such a breach of civilisation does not happen again in Rwanda, Africa or anywhere else in the world.”
He expressed satisfaction with the bilateral cooperation between Zimbabwe and Rwanda saying the great milestones that the country has made are there for everyone to see.
Professor Murwira said Zimbabwe is moved by the great spirit of resilience and courage shown by the Rwandan people to let bygones be bygones and take meaningful steps towards national healing and reconciliation.
He saluted President Paul Kagame for his astute administration of Rwanda post genocide.
Rwanda’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James Musoni, commended Zimbabwe for its collaboration with Rwanda in putting in place a legal framework that will facilitate tracking down of perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi who might be in Zimbabwe.
Musoni called upon everyone to take an individual and collective responsibility to lend a hand in bringing to justice perpetrators wherever they are.
“I would like to thank those countries whose governments and justice systems have made commendable contribution in repatriating to Rwanda or taking to courts of justice the perpetrators,” he said.
The envoy also thanked Zimbabwe for its contribution in the post-genocide human capital development programme which has seen Harare send educational personnel to Rwanda. He said the teachers deployed to Rwanda were doing a commendable job.
A genocide survivor, Dimitrie Sissi Mukanyiligira, gave a touching testimony which touched the hearts of participants at the Kwibuka29 commemorations in Harare as she narrated how she escaped death.
Mukanyiligira unveiled her book, “Do not Accept to Die.” The book is based on a true story of her survival of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and how according to her, ‘she embraced life’.