11 Mar 2013
An excerpt from Supporting Survivors of Genocide and Other Mass Atrocities: EU Responsibilities by Noam Schimmel, published by the Huffington Post
Given the extensive role of EU national aid agencies in funding development aid programs careful consideration must be given to the responsibilities of national and multi-national EU aid projects to support survivors of genocide and mass atrocities and to enable them to realize their human rights in accordance with the UN Basic Principles on the Right to Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law.
These principles create a framework for restorative justice which defines obligations to provide restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition to survivors of mass atrocities.
In this regard, Britain, through the Department for International Development has been exemplary in its substantial commitment to funding development projects for survivors of the Rwandan genocide, and a model that other European national aid agencies should emulate.
Hundreds of perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide have shamefully found shelter in the EU and many EU member states refuse to prosecute them, France and Britain amongst them.
In too many EU states prosecution efforts are minimal, hopelessly lethargic, and marred by a lack of political and legal will.
This is utterly immoral, inexcusable, and must come to an end.
It imposes a further injustice on survivors of the Rwandan genocide and makes a mockery of EU commitments to international human rights law and the principle that violators of human rights – particularly the most egregious ones – need to be held accountable.
As the 19th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide approaches in April, this report by the Task Force on the EU Prevention of Mass Atrocities has been issued at a critical time.
Survivors of the Rwandan genocide who were failed enormously by the EU are demanding and deserve redress as an urgent matter of justice which has gone unaddressed for far too long.
They are currently campaigning for a program of restorative justice that recognizes their human rights in accordance with the UN Basic Principles.
Prevention and stopping genocide are paramount goals.
But in a world in which genocide and mass atrocities all too often are allowed to take place with little interference aside from hollow statements of diplomatic pseudo-solidarity with victims – and when the EU and its member states remain indifferent to the suffering and cries of distant others who are not EU nationals – action plans for providing assistance to survivors of genocide and other mass atrocities in their aftermath are equally essential.
Restorative justice for survivors of genocide and mass atrocities must complement the efforts to prevent and stop genocide advocated by the Task Force on the EU Prevention of Mass Atrocities.