BELGIUM: TEN YEARS ON EXILED RWANDAN'S IN BRUSSELS MOURN THE VICTIMS OF THE 1994 RWANDAN GENOCIDE.
- Title: BELGIUM: TEN YEARS ON EXILED RWANDAN'S IN BRUSSELS MOURN THE VICTIMS OF THE 1994 RWANDAN GENOCIDE.
- Date: 5th April 2004
- Summary: VARIOUS: PICTURES OF BELGIAN NEWSPAPERS SHOWING STORIES AND PICTURES AROUND THE GENOCIDE COMMEMORATION. (3 SHOTS)
- Reuters ID: LVABYTYBSNVHVNB9CECDZAAEONV4
- Location: BRUSSELS, ANTWERP, BELGIUM
- Country: Belgium
- Duration: 00:00:18
- Topics: Crime,Conflict,International Relations,Politics
- Story Text: Rwandan people exiled in Belgium, the former colonial power, are mourning the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in their own way, thousands kilometers away from home.
Ten years after the shocking events, the Rwandan genocide still calls up vivid memories among the exiled Rwandan community in Belgium, the biggest in Europe.
Between 1994 and 2001, over 6500 of them found a safe heaven in Belgium, but had to rebuild a life from scratch.
Most of them left behind their families and friends, many of them dead....
This was what happened to Jean Claude Nkubito, a boarding school student when the Genocide erupted. The tutsi teenager escaped killings in the school, only to find all his parents and relatives already slaughtered in his home village.
With nothing and nobody left in his home country, Jean-Claude eventually found his way to Belgium.
Now working as a journalist in Brussels, he remains sceptic about the Rwandan current regime, and doesn't think there is anything to celebrate back home.
"To speak about anniversary is unfortunate because we are not celebrating the loss of our relatives, back here.
It is unfortunate. We are not jubilating. They can celebrate the fact that they are in power for ten years, have got money which they did not have before. But for us, here, we are poor wretches stuck here. So this is the situation after ten years."
Jean Claude Nkubito feels that a real reconciliation is still far away, He thinks that the ethnic division has followed the tiny community up to the streets of Brussels: "It is noticeable that here, the Tutsis and the Hutus do not live together here. They are really separated, do not speak to each others at all."
Jean-Baptiste Nkuliyingoma, a former Rwandan Minister, turned taxi driver to make a living in exile, is another example.
A Hutu moderate, he had, like Jean-Claude, a big part of his family slaughtered during the first days of the genocide. But he was later on made Information Minister in the first government set by Kagame's FPR, right after the genocide. A position he lost in July 1995, and had to flee to Brussels, fearing for his live.
Today he tries to make a living with his family in Brussels.
"I can make a living in Belgium, cause I feel as a world citizen. But I would like to live in Rwanda, because for me it's the most wonderful place in the world. But for the moment I work here in Belgium. It's good to work here.
If it would be possible to work there I would go for it. It is very important to create a framework where I could move from there to there without any problem."
Rwanda's genocide began on the night of April 6, 1994, after the shooting down of a plane carrying the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, who both died in the crash near Kigali.
A report of the French anti-terrorist division of the judicial police was leaked to the press about to a month ago. Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere would have found evidence that Kagame gave the order to fire a missile as the presidential plane approached the main airport in the capital, Kigali.
The crash prompted the genocide.
Although Professor Filip Reyntjens of the Antwerp University, a well known specialist of the Great Lakes region, didn't see the report, but believes that if verified, it carries some "serious embarrassment" for President Paul Kagame as he commemorated the 10 years of the genocide back home.
"The shooting down of the plane triggered the genocide.
It doesn't mean Kagame is responsible for the genocide but certainly the downing of the plane was the starting point, so to speak, of the genocide. And Kagame would have known what we all knew on April 6 1994... and that is that this would lead to massive killings, particularly among the Tutsi population. So that would, and that's a political problem for Kagame, it would seem to confirm that he was interested more in gaining political power, achieving a military victory, rather than saving Tutsi lives. So that the saving of Tutsis, the fate of the Tutsi in Rwanda was a secondary consideration for him."
Professor Reyntjens believes that if the report might lead to a trial for RPF officers. "these defendants RPF officers will probably point upwards, they will say 'ok we did it, but we were under orders and Kagame gave us that orders. So I think both politically and judicially speaking it will be major embarrassment."
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2015. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Embargoed:20th April 2004 13:00
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: Video restrictions: parts of this video may require additional clearances. Please see ‘Business Notes’ for more information.