Rwandan Government introduces special training for Genocide ex-convicts
Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement, Jean Damascene Bizimana addressing the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Unity, Human Rights, and Fight against Genocide on May 23. Courtesy.
By Michel Nkurunziza
The government is developing a unique curriculum to guide the rehabilitation and reintegration of more than 22,000 convicts of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi into society after completing their sentences, the Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement, Jean Damascene Bizimana has said.
Bizimana made the revelation while addressing the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Unity, Human Rights, and Fight against Genocide regarding efforts in place to combat genocide ideology and related crimes during a session held on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
“The genocide convicts who were sentenced to between 20 and 30 years in jail are being released. According to our assessment, between 1,000 and 2,500 genocide convicts are released every year in a category of those who had been sentenced to between 15 and 25 years,” he said.
Most of those sentenced to 30 years in jail, he noted, will also be released soon.
“The release of genocide convicts should be prepared and rehabilitated before reintegration into society because the country has faced rapid transformation over the past 30 years and we are putting in effort in fostering unity and reconciliation as we fight against genocide ideology and denial,” he said.
Some convicts remain stubborn with the genocide ideology, he said.
The official added that the community members in areas where the convicts committed genocide also have to be informed and prepared to welcome the released ex-genocide convicts and learn how to live in harmony.
“The special curriculum t will help rehabilitate and reintegrate the released convicts annually. We are working with other institutions including the Ministry of Justice, local government ministry, the Ministry of Interior, non-profit organizations, and others to build the programme,” Bizimana said.
Most of the genocide convicts were sentenced by Gacaca courts.
After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi Rwanda initiated the Gacaca courts to handle to handle genocide crimes; Gacaca is a home-grown community-based justice system.
Through Gacaca Courts, Rwandans proved the capacity to solve their own problems, to mend the social fabric, and reveal the truth about the Genocide; which had been prepared for a long-time.
Moreover, Gacaca Courts were used as one of the ways to eradicate impunity and a lesson to respect human rights, especially the right to life and equality of all Rwandans before the law.
The Gacaca justice system was officially closed in 2012, after trying more than 1.9 million Genocide crimes in ten years.
Gacaca courts archives have been recommended to be registered to UNESCO’s Documentary Heritage Listing.
Culled from The New Times.