The belongings of Genocide victims inside Ntarama Genocide Memorial in Bugesera. The building was a Catholic church during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. / File
Countries should respect their international obligation on genocide. The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (also known as the Genocide Convention) defines genocide as any of the acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.
It states that to deter people from committing crimes of genocide, those responsible for such crimes need to be brought to justice and to fight impunity and establish a credible expectation that the perpetrators of genocide and related crimes will be held accountable to effectively contribute to a culture of prevention.
This Convention gives countries that are signatory to it the obligation to bring to justice those responsible for those offences making up the crime of genocide.
Some countries are commendable for having respected this international obligation by trying or extraditing to Rwanda perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi; namely, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. The same goes for countries that extradited to Rwanda 19 Genocide perpetrators who had found refuge on their territory including the USA, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the ICTR.
However, there are other countries that have reneged on this international obligation and have instead granted a safe haven to perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi, which explains the fact that there are still over 835 Genocide fugitives who are at large in various countries across the globe.
As we mark the 69th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, countries should wake up and ensure that they respect their international obligation and bring to book perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi who enjoy impunity on their territories.
(c) 2017 The New Times