Life Imprisonment for Genocide in Rwanda: Justice is Coming

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

Yesterday the Government of Rwanda welcomed the June 24th decision by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to sentence Pauline
Nyiramasuhuko, former Minister for Family and Women Affairs, her son Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, and Elie Ndayambaje, the former Bourgmestre of Muganza, to life imprisonment for the horrific Genocide crimes against the Tutsi in 1994.

The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) said that sentencing the “Butare clique” of Nyiramasuhuko, Ntahobari, Joseph Kanyabashi, Elie Ndayambaje, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo is a milestone because these were solely responsible for planning and executing the genocide in Butare.

“Nyiramasuhuko is the first woman to be sentenced on genocide crimes, especially on grounds that she incited her son to rape Tutsi women, among other things, it is the first time mother and son have been convicted at the same time,” said Jean de Dieu Mucyo, the Executive Secretary of CNLG.

In an editorial written by the Sunday Times, these words ring true and loud, “It is important that all countries, where fugitives may be living, understand the need to bring to justice those suspected of participating in the Genocide, as a means of bringing an end to impunity. This will facilitate healing for the survivors.”

In related news, Serena Hotel-Rwanda hosted a memorial service yesterday that brought together all religious denominations to pray for unity, reconciliation and fight the Genocide ideology in the country. The service, which is part of the hotel’s activities to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, was organized by the Gates of Heaven Ministries, a hotel cathedral in partnership with Ibuka, under the theme ‘let the Church’s efforts that was put in planning and conducting the Genocide be the same used in rehabilitating the hearts of many.’

Last Thursday, staff at Butare University Teaching Hospital (CHUB) held a night vigil to remember victims of the 1994 Genocide. Jean Pierre Bucyensenge, a reporter for The New Times wrote that, “For the second time, they honoured over 67 Tutsi, including the hospital’s former employees, who were killed at the hospital.Testimonies indicated that instead of helping wounded Tutsi who sought assistance at the hospital, some nurses and doctors abandoned them, or at worst, killed them.”

There is a long road ahead in healing, justice, forgiveness, and learning for not only Rwandans and other Africans, but for the entire world. We each must learn from this horrific Genocide and do our parts to spread love, hope, understanding, dignity, and forgiveness to all mankind.


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