Rwanda on Wednesday began a week of commemoration and 100 days of mourning to mark the 27th anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group.
About 1 million people, mostly of the Tutsi community and moderate Hutus, were killed in the genocide by Hutu extremists during a massacre within a span of 100 days.
President Paul Kagame and first lady Jeannette Kagame alongside the dean of the diplomatic corps and representatives of survivors laid wreaths at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where over 250,000 victims are laid to rest.
Kagame then lit the “Flame of Remembrance” at the memorial.
This year’s commemoration comes days after a French commission appointed by President Emmanuel Macron in April 2019 said France was politically responsible for inaction amid preparations for genocide committed by extremist Hutus; but downplayed the country’s role as an accomplice to the genocidal operation.
Commenting on the report, Kagame said it “marks an important step toward a common understanding of what took place.”
“It also shows the desire even for leaders in France to move forward with a good understanding of what happened. We welcome the report, it is a good thing.”
The Rwandan leader also faulted countries offering genocide suspects safe haven, urging them to either try them in court or hand them over to Rwanda to face justice.
Rwanda’s Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit data shows that more than 1,000 suspects have taken refuge in different countries including France, the US, Netherlands and Canada.