EALA backs Rwanda’s quest for ICTR archives and the call for an International Trust Fund for Survivors.

From The New Times, 18th April 2013.

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) yesterday passed a motion condemning the UN system for failing “to prevent the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi despite having received reports to that effect.”

EALA members chat at the end of yesterday’s business (The New Times/John Mbanda)

The motion, moved by MP Abubakar Zein Abubakar [Kenya], also declared the Assembly’s support for “the decision of the Council of Ministers to ensure that all the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) be transferred to Rwanda.”

While addressing the lawmakers on Tuesday, President Paul Kagame, called for deepening of regional integration across Africa to boost the continent’s ability to stand for its rights.

Yesterday’s sitting was the actual plenary business for the fifth meeting of the first session of the third Assembly that runs from Tuesday until April 26 in Kigali.

The motion was seconded by MP Abubakar Ogle [Kenya], before it got the House’s unanimous approval.

Apart from expressing profound disappointment with the failure of the UN to prevent the Genocide, EALA declared “its solidarity with the people and Government of Rwanda especially now when they are commemorating the 1994 Genocide.

The Assembly appreciates the resilience of the people and Government of the Republic of Rwanda in copying with the legacy of Genocide on their own for the last 19 years, the legislators said in a statement.

The resolution demands the Council of Ministers to designate April 7 of every year as the EAC Day of Reflection on the Genocide against the Tutsi.

It calls on EAC Partner States to commemorate the Genocide; and act in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of genocide by putting in place necessary mechanisms to track and bring Genocide fugitives to justice.

In addition, it calls on the EAC to enact laws punishing and negating the crime of genocide denial and propagating hate speeches embodying genocide ideology.

The resolution calls upon the EAC Summit (of Heads of State) to urge the UN to adopt a Resolution establishing an International Trust Fund for Survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi and that the EAC do organise a Regional Conference to address the issues of Genocide as part of the 20th commemoration of the Genocide, next year.

Defending the motion, MP Abubakar said: “One of the reasons why we are considering this motion today, in this August House, is to reflect on the atrocities – but also to celebrate the triumph of human spirit and resilience of the people of Rwanda.”

Human spirit 

Abubakar reminded the lawmakers that more than a million people died in April 1994 but noted that despite the history, a story of the human spirit that has triumphed to pull together to achieved amazing feats should not be ignored.

On the transfer of ICTR archives to Rwanda, Zein Abubakar said: “One of the few things that we have affirmed, is the requirement that the institutional memory and the records that have accrued through that process, be brought home here in Rwanda, and be part of the national archives, here in Rwanda.”

“And, in this region, we need to build a capacity to confront Genocide, including its insidious nature, from ideology, to negation and denial.”

MP Nancy Abisai [Kenya] said the idea of having an EAC day of the Genocide against the Tutsi will help create awareness in partner states about what happened in the Genocide. “Many of the people within East Africa, I think, don’t really understand what this Genocide is really about. They think it is just another war. Just like any other war. But this was different.”

The Chairperson of the Summit of the EAC Heads of State, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, is expected to deliver the annual State of EAC Address at a Special Sitting today.

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