Rwanda Justice for genocide: Resources
Organisations and individuals seeking justice for victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and/or campaigning for accountability and disclosure for state or individual actors who were complicit in war crimes/genocide/crimes against humanity. [March 2023: book, film and article resources coming soon]
CPCR (Le Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda) is an organisation set up with the aim of bringing pressure and judicial evidence against alleged genocide suspects living in France and French overseas territories. Founded in 2001 by Alain Gauthier and his wife Dafroza, it has played a leading role in campaigning for the French state to ensure the accused face trial in France. As with the UK, France has refused to extradite suspects back to Rwanda. The CPCR has lawyers working for the organisation who assist bringing prosecution evidence before the court and sends investigators back to Rwanda to find evidence and witnesses on the ground. It has brought 34 cases against accused individuals including many of the most powerful Akazu figures who fled to France after 1994. https://www.collectifpartiescivilesrwanda.fr/en/
The CPCR has often been joined in taking legal action by the devoted work of two other French NGOs:
SURVIE (Survie.org) which has campaigned for more than two decades against La Francafrique – the neo-colonial abuse of former colonies by the French state and business. Survie has been particularly involved in highlighting and campaigning for the full truth of the French state’s political and military complicity with the genocidal Rwandan regimes (https://survie.org/publications/4-pages/article/la-france-complice-du-genocide-des-tutsi-au-rwanda)
FIDH (https://www.fidh.org/en/region/europe-central-asia/france) International Federation for Human Rights has assisted in bringing complaints against alleged genocidaire.
Aegis Trust is a UK charity that works towards the prediction, prevention and ultimate elimination of genocide. Founded in 1995, it has played a significant role post-genocide in seeking to preserve places of mass atrocity and burial sites in Rwanda and it assisted the setting up and current upkeep of the national genocide memorial at Gisozi, Kigali where 250,000 victims are interred. Aegis has played a significant role in the fight for justice, assisting the enormous task of the digitisation of the Gacaca trial records. In 2009 Aegis led a successful campaign within the UK parliament for a change of law to allow crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed prior to 2001 to be prosecuted. A legal loophole had meant that the Rwandan genocide suspects living in the UK, who avoided extradition in 2009, could not be prosecuted in the UK because their supposed crimes were committed in 1994. https://www.aegistrust.org
REDRESS is a UK charity that aims to help survivors of human rights violations, especially torture, obtain justice and reparation and to assist in bringing perpetrators of torture to court; as well as to promote the development and implementation of national and international standards which provide effective and enforceable remedies for torture. It worked with Aegis Trust to press UK national government to amend the law in 2009 (see above) and has authored a number of reports into perpetrator impunity and the need for survivors to have recourse to justice when war crimes have been committed. https://redress.org/about-us/history-of-redress/
African Rights is a proactive campaigning and advocacy NGO, based in London originally but now with its central base in the horn of Africa. Through research and publications programmes focused on countries scarred by violence, including Rwanda and Somaliland, they aim to highlight abuses and bring the voices of victims, as well as other concerned parties, to the centre of debates on how to secure rights. Post 1994, African Rights produced the first victim-led accounts of the horrifying genocide as well as research into perpetrators who had fled the country and were now living abroad. The ‘Witness to Genocide’ series was particularly significant in highlighting perpetrators in the west. For a list of publications – including reports and charge sheets – see http://www.africanrights.org/articles-publications/
United Nations Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UNRMT): with the closure of the United National International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in December 2015, the remaining cases were transferred to the UN Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UNRMCT), as well as the duty to look after the substantial archives the court in Arusha had built up over 20 years and to track remaining wanted perpetrators.
The ICTR archives, held in Arusha, but with now digitised and online, are a very important resource for future generations, that assist in promoting a fact-based account of the events in 1994. The Mechanism is currently hosting what is likely to be its final trial, Felicien Kabuga.
For the ICTR archive see https://ucr.irmct.org
For the UN Residual Mechanism home page and court access see https://www.irmct.org/en
Weiner Holocaust Library, based in central London, is one of the world’s leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust, the Nazi era and genocide. The library’s unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony. It holds many resources and witness accounts on the genocide against the Tutsi and has partnered with the Ishami Foundation in holding online events around justice and genocide denial. https://wienerholocaustlibrary.org
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is a UK state-funded charity that seeks to educate and bring people together on or around 27 January to remember the millions of people who were murdered or whose lives were changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, and in later genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda Bosnia and Darfur. The aim is to promote and support activities around Holocaust Memorial Day, as well as with events throughout the year.
BLOGS AND WEBSITES
Commission d’Enquête Citoyenne (CEC) (in French)
The CEC was set up around 2003, and has undertaken years of research into the complicity of the French state (military and political figures) in Rwanda, before, during and after the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. The well-maintained websites that are hosted by the CEC and individual researchers such as Jacques Morrel and Emmanuel Cattier have a treasure trove of information about France-Rwanda, alleged genocidaire living in France, judicial cases and a history of the involvement of Paris in the African nation as well as some wider information on ‘La Francafrique.’
UK Rwandan genocide survivor organisations and support groups
Ishami Foundation. Founded by genocide survivor and former goalkeeper of the Rwandan national team, Eric Murangwa and based in London and Kigali, the charity aims to foster reconciliation, peace and education. Its recent work has focused on genocide survivors speaking in schools and communities around the UK, providing educational resources for schools to teach about the tragedy and seeking to highlight the continuing need for understanding and knowledge of the genocide against a backdrop of increased genocide denial in the UK media and social media.
Survivors Fund (SURF). Founded by Mary Kayitesi Blewitt, who lost 50 members of her family in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.SURF aims to assist in gainingsustainable livelihoods for survivors and related vulnerable persons through a focus on income generating activities, entrepreneurship and employment. It works with other charities to make a holistic approach to the needs of survivors, notably AVEGA (Association of Widows of the Genocide) and (AERG Student’s Association of Survivors).
Justice Info is an independent website in French and English covering justice initiatives in countries dealing with serious violence. It is a media outlet of Fondation Hirondelle, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Hirondelle was one of the very few news sites to carry regular – often daily – reports of trials when the ICTR was running in Arusha. It has some excellent archive articles on trials as well as good present coverage of on-going issues surrounding war crimes, genocide, universal justice and reparations.
Trial international (https://trialinternational.org/) is a Non-government organisation fighting impunity for individual crimes and supporting victims in their quest for justice. It has offices in Geneva, the Balkans and Africa. ‘TRIAL International believes in a world where impunity for international crimes is no longer tolerated. The obligation to hold accountable the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, sexual violence, torture and enforced disappearances, together with the opportunity for victims to obtain justice and reparation, can deter the future commission of these crimes.’
The site has some good case reviews of trials and history of cases that have come before the courts. For Rwandan genocide cases see
see also its 5 May 2020 report ‘Prosecuting International Crimes: A matter of willingness