Justice Seekers

Alamouti, D. 2014. Justice Seekers. Al Jazeera.

TitleJustice Seekers
AuthorsAlamouti, D.
Description

Twenty years on, the Rwandan genocide runs the risk of fading from the West’s collective consciousness. For those who lived through the 1994 massacre of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis, however, survivors’ guilt, nightmarish memories, and the psychological need for closure remain strong.

Dafroza Gauthier lost her extended family in the massacre and was lucky to escape Rwanda alive. She and her husband Alain have spent years carefully collating and recording first-hand testimony against the men and women alleged to have been among the leading figures in Rwanda’s nightmare.

Finally their struggle has borne fruit: in early 2014, Pascal Simbikangwa, who was the head of central intelligence in Rwanda in 1994, stands trial in Paris on charges of complicity in genocide, and complicity in crimes against humanity. The trial marks a huge step forward in France’s official stance over the genocide, and it is occurring in no small measure because of the Gauthiers' determination.

For many survivors and observers, the reluctance of successive French administrations to take action against alleged perpetrators residing in France is inexplicable. The Simbikangwa trial is historic, marking an acknowledgement -- not yet an apology, of the faults of previous French policy, but it is only the first step on the road to rectifying wrongs.

Once the Simbikangwa trial is concluded, the Gauthiers hope that the authorities will take action against other high-profile Rwandan exiles alleged to have been deeply complicit, among them Agathe Habyarimana, widow of the former president, and Wencelas Munyeshaka, priest of the infamous St Famille Church, Kigali.

Year2014
PublisherAl Jazeera
Publication dates
Published13 Apr 2014
Web address (URL)http://vimeo.com/82667141

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