Two former mayors from Rwanda went on trial in Paris on Tuesday for their suspected role in massacres of ethnic Tutsi in the early stages of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, The New York Times reports:
The trial is the second to be brought in France against former Rwandan officials suspected of having roles in the genocide. France had long been criticized for not doing enough to prevent the genocide, and for providing weapons and military training to the Hutu-led government, which carried out the killings.
In 2014, a French judge sentenced Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan intelligence officer, to 25 years in prison for complicity in the genocide and for crimes against humanity. Mr. Simbikangwa has appealed his sentence, and a new trial is expected to be held in October.
Clemence Bectarte, a lawyer for the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), one of the civil parties in the case, called the trial a positive if tardy signal, VOA adds.
“It means that even 22 years after the genocide, justice can still happen,” she said. “It is important especially in France, because we know a lot of Rwandan genocide suspects have sought refuge here.”
Partners in Prevention: A Global Forum on Ending Genocide brings together international policymakers and experts to discuss atrocity prevention coordination, best practices, and future agendas for domestic and international atrocity prevention efforts.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s work on preventing genocide and related crimes against humanity is conducted by the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. The Simon-Skjodt Center is dedicated to stimulating timely global action to prevent genocide and to catalyze an international response when it occurs.
Confirmed speakers include:
Senator Ben Cardin
Carl Gershman (right), President, National Endowment for Democracy
Andrew Gilmour, Director, Political, Peacekeeping, Humanitarian, and Human Rights, Executive Office of United Nations Secretary-General
Qutaiba Idlbi, Syrian survivor and Research Assistant, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services
David Robinson, Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations, US State Department
Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, US State Department
Clint Williamson, Senior Director, Law and National Security, McCain Institute
Thursday, May 19
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If you are unable to join in person, please view a live webcast of the opening remarks and keynote address at ushmm.org/watch.
Photo: Civilians displaced by violence in Syria board trucks at a transit center in Jordan that will take them to the Zaatari refugee camp in February 2014. Lucian Perkins for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum