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Rwanda holds genocide commemorations in Malawi

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By Richard Chirombo:

To remember over one million people killed in Rwanda’s genocide between April 7 and July 4 1994, the Rwandan High Commission has announced that it will hold commemorations in Malawi on Friday, April 12.

This is according to Abel Bunungu, counsellor at the Rwanda High Commission in Zambia, which is also accredited to Malawi.

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The development comes after the high commission— which is resident in Lusaka, Zambia— held the commemorations in Zambia on Monday, April 8. The event, which saw Rwandans and the United Nations (UN) fraternity joining the world in remembering Tutsis who died in the fastest genocide in the world, was held under the theme ‘Remember-Unite- Renew’.

“This commemoration raises awareness to all humanity on the value of life. It helps us reflect, as well as reaffirm, the collective responsibility of preventing genocide on the continent and beyond.

“On this day of remembrance, we pay homage to the victims as well as reflect on the transformational journey that Rwanda has travelled in the last 25 years,” Bunungu says.

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The UN General Assembly and the African Union Summit, in Decisions 72/550 and 695, respectively, designated April 7 as the International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the Genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda.

To avoid a repeat of what happened in Rwanda, UN member states have been signing extradition treaties with Rwanda. Malawi is one of the countries, drawing praise from Bunungu.

“Within the immediate region, Malawi extradited genocide convict Vincent Murekezi in January this year. Murekezi, who fled to Malawi in 2003, was tried in absentia and handed a life sentence by a Gacaca court in Rwanda.

“This extradition came after Malawi and Rwanda had signed an Extradition Treaty as well as a Memorandum of Understanding on exchange of prisoners, earlier in February 2017. We cannot thank the government and people of Malawi enough for this noble act of fighting genocide-related impunity,” he says.

Apart from Malawi, other countries that have recently extradited suspects to Rwanda or tried suspects are the United States (four), Canada (four), the Netherlands (five), Sweden (two), Norway (two), Finland (one) and Germany (one), according to the Rwandan High Commission.

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