[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] said [text] Monday that the only way to prevent future atrocities like the Rwandan genocide is to take shared responsibility and shared action to prevent them. Speaking at the General Assembly commemoration of the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda [official website], the secretary acknowledged the “bravery” of the survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Ban stated:
The only way to prevent genocide and other egregious violations of human rights is to acknowledge shared responsibility and commit to shared action to protect those at risk. It is essential that Governments, the judiciary and civil society stand firm against hate speech and those who incite division and violence. We must instead unite to promote inclusion, dialogue and the rule of law to establish peaceful, just societies.
The UN estimates show that in 1994 roughly 800,000 people were systematically murdered in Rwanda.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website], established in 1994, was the first international tribunal to deliver verdicts against those guilty of committing genocide. Within its 21 years, the ICTR sentenced 61 extremists to terms of up to life imprisonment for their roles in the Rwandan genocide. There were 14 acquittals, and 10 accused were transferred to national courts during this period. An International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals has been established, and eight fugitives remain at large. Only in January 2016, after issuing 45 judgments, did the ICTR formally close [UN News Centre report]. In December Interpol [official website] agents announced the arrest [JURIST report] of Rwandan genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa, who had a US $5 million bounty [BBC report]. In September a court in Toulouse, France, refused extradition requests [JURIST report] for Joseph Habyarimana, a Rwandan man, facing charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. In January 2014 two Rwandan police officers were sentenced [JURIST report] to 20 years in jail for the murder of a Transparency International anti-corruption activist. Last July the ICTR unanimously affirmed [JURIST report] a 30-year jail sentence for former army chief Augustin Bizimungu for the role he played in the genocide. In December 2012 the ICTR convicted [JURIST report] former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware, sentencing him to 35 years in prison on charges of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and rape as a crime against humanity.