Rwanda: April 3, 2004


Its a bitter tenth anniversary a decade since the Rwandan genocide. President Paul Kagames government has pursued a policy of mass reconciliation. Critics charge the Rwandan governments program is mass re-education, with Tutsi and Hutu history spun to gloss over differences. Kagame, whose forces stopped the genocide when they took power in Rwanda after invading from Uganda, points to the relative peace that now exists in the country. Few people, however, want to debate the extent of the murders anymore, or the fact that Hutu extremists planned the genocide in advance. Rwanda's Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports conducted an extensive census and study and released the results April 1. The study reported that from April to June 1994 937,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus (thats the term used for Hutus who refused to participate in the killings) were either murdered or died as a direct result of the violence. The Rwandan government report tried to identify the names, age, and place of birth of all victims. While this figure is on the high end of estimates (usually given as 500,000 to 800,000 dead) it does have documentation to support it. The Rwandan government asserted that the figure could still rise as local Gacaca courts (grass courts held in the middle of the village) continue throughout the country. Gacaca justice draws on traditional tribal legal rules. The Rwandan government is using them as a form of truth and reconciliation commission. (Austin Bay)




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