ICTR, Aruba, Tanzania
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Aruba, Tanzania [photo source]

Link: Rwanda genocide survivors may boycott U.N. court [Reuters]

I can't even begin to fathom the pain and frustration that one must feel in witnessing the acquittal of someone you know to be guilty. The charges here are genocide and many of the witnesses saw these crimes being committed with their own eyes.  Indeed, many were the intended victims of the crimes. To see a murderer walk free when you know them to be guilty, when they murdered your family or friends or even tried to murder you... as I say, I can't begin to understand how painful that must be.

However, I absolutely respect the decision of the ICTR to give an acquittal if they felt that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction. In order for the court to be perceived as fair, just and competent, they must give acquittals if the legal process cannot prove that the crime was indeed committed. I really hope that the witnesses don't boycott the Tribunal as the trials cannot go ahead without them. Two people have been acquitted recently but so many convictions have been secured with some of the worst perpetrators being sent away for life. 

I think the biggest lesson in all of this is that to the people who were there, it wasn’t that 800,000 were killed.  It is just them and their loved ones and their communities that matter to them.  The convictions of people from other areas of the country mean little to them as they experience a very individual and person grief.

About Mandy Southgate

Mandy Southgate is an accountant living and working in London. She is passionate about world events such as genocide and apartheid and has a desire to understand how these events continue to occur in the modern world. With a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries, A Passion to Understand reflects her continuing research and reading on these topics.
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