On November 12, 2015, leading officials from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial and paid their respects to the more than one million victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
The visit is part of a series of events honouring the victims of the Genocide and marking the completion of the court’s mandate after more than twenty years of prosecuting those who played leading roles in the Genocide in Rwanda.
ICTR President Judge Vagn Joensen, together with Registrar Bongani Majola and Prosecutor Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow, laid a wreath on the mass graves to honour and remember the victims of Genocide and the more than 250,000 buried at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The delegation also toured in the memorial exhibits that tell the stories of victims, survivors and rescuers and shows the events leading up to the Genocide, how the Genocide was planned and implemented, its aftermath and Rwanda’s journey of renewal over the last 21 years.
Writing in the guestbook, Judge Vagn Joensen, said, “I am here to show my respect to the victims and survivors and salute Rwandans for their hard work to achieve reconciliation.”
Bongani Majola wrote, “Looking ahead I congratulate the surviving people of Rwanda not only for rising from the ashes of the 1994 tragedy but for building themselves and their country, for forgiving and for taking steps to ensure that this tragedy never happens again in this beautiful land.”
During the visit, the delegation donated 1,500 books to the memorial titled, “Iminsi 100 mu gihugu cy imisozi igihumbi”, meaning, “One hundred days in the country of a thousand hills”. The book teaches young people about the history of the Genocide and how the commitment to Never Again should be a priority for everyone.
“We hope the message in this book will contribute to what this memorial stands for, which is to educate so that the history of Genocide will not repeat itself,” the delegation said.
Honore Gatera, Manager of the Kigali Genocide Memorial, thanked the ICTR for donating the books and stressed the importance of these resources to the memorial’s peace education programme.
“This is a huge contribution to our work. Now that Rwanda has incorporated peace education into the school curriculum, we hope such materials will enhance teaching and learning. Together we will ensure that young generations will create a different history,” he said.