The European Grassroots Antiracist Movement EGAM has issued a statement calling for an end to impunity for Rwandan Genocide perpetrators.
The statement was signed by prominent officials, journalists, researchers and civil society activists. The initiator of the statement is Benjamin Abtan, President of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement, Coordinator of the Elie Wiesel Network of Parliamentarians of Europe for the Prevention of Mass Atrocities and Genocides and against Genocide Denial. Hayk Demoyan, Director of Armenian Genocide Museum Institute, Ara Toranian and Franck Papazian, Co-Presidents of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France, are among those who have signed the statement.
The text is as follows:
Several tens of Rwandan “key genocide perpetrators” live in Europe, particularly in France. Too often they live in total impunity, without being troubled by justice.
Over the course of the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, they have not only plundered, tortured, raped and massacred, but also planned, recruited, taught and organised.
These are not “little helping hands” of the genocide; they are amongst its main responsibles. A number of them are subject to international arrest warrants or have already been convicted for genocide or complicity in genocide by the Rwandan justice system.
For more than twenty years, the Catholic Church, which assisted in their absconding, has been protecting several perpetrators. Sometimes it hides them, sometimes it appoints these non-repenting killers as priests, in particular in the parishes of French towns and villages.
For more than twenty years, the majority of key genocide perpetrators have been living in France without being troubled by justice. They are not there by chance: it was the French army that exfiltrated and covered the escape of those who had just organised and perpetrated the extermination of more than one million Tutsis in 1994. This was one of the key moments of the policy of collaboration with the genocidal regime in Rwanda, which started before and continued throughout and after the genocide. This policy was led by politicians from both the right and the left, at that time placed at the highest levels of the French state apparatus.
The impunity that protects the key Rwandan genocide perpetrators and those who have collaborated with them is today the last obstacle to the full implementation of justice in this genocide.
As a matter of fact, due to the exceptional and unprecedented efforts of the Rwandan population and institutions since 1994, several hundreds of thousands of murderers have been judged in the “gaçaças” the jurisdictions of the villages, and the tribunals of the country. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has judged some of the perpetrators of the highest ranks.
This lasting impunity constitutes for the survivors an additional suffering. For the youth of Rwanda and Europe, an obstacle in their projection towards a shared future. For all, an inexcusable injustice and a scandalous infringement of the rule of law.
Our demand is simple: an end to impunity for genocide perpetrators and their accomplices.
In respecting rigorously the separation of powers, fundamental for democracy which we cherish, all governments must elaborate and effectively apply a criminal law policy. It is high time that all countries implicated, first and foremost France, put the prosecution, the extradition to Rwanda or the judgement in their place of residence of genocide perpetrators and their accomplices at the heart of the priorities of this criminal law policy, so that justice is finally served.
It is imperative to consider the end of impunity for genocide perpetrators and their accomplices for what it is: a moral, human, social, political, historical and therefore judicial urgency.
This is the responsibility of our generation to ensure that they are judged, in order to offer to the next generations the possibility to create together an “imbere heza”, a “good future”.