Genocide, Mass Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice in PSO Course Underway

Category: News

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) General Patrick Nyamvumba, presided over the official opening ceremony of the Genocide, Mass Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice in Peace Support Operations course.

Group photo for the opening ceremony of the Genocide, Mass Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice in Peace Support Operations.

The Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA) in partnership with the British Peace Support Team, Eastern Africa (BPST-EA), is currently conducting a two-week regional training programme entitled “Genocide, Mass Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice in Peace Support Operations Course”.

 The course was officially opened by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) General Patrick Nyamvumba on 10 October 2017 and will run up to 20 October 2017. Citing Gacaca courts as an example of effective homegrown solution, General Nyamvumba pointed out,” Addressing the justice problem in post–genocide Rwanda required the use of unconventional methods because of three main reasons: First; as already indicated, the number of genocide suspects was overwhelming; Second; it would have been very costly to try about 150,000 genocide suspects using the conventional courts which had also been terribly weakened by the genocide; Third and most important, what the Rwandan society needed was a justice system that could address the longstanding problem of impunity while at the same time promoting social harmony. Justice, as administered through national conventional courts, could not have achieved these outcomes.”

 The course is attended by a total of 24 military, police and civilian officers from seven African countries, namely: Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Zambia and Rwanda. H.E William Gelling the UK High Commissioner in Rwanda, and Col. Richard Leakey the Commander of the British Peace Support Team, Eastern Africa (BPST –EA) as well as Lt Col Martin Melia the UK Defence Attaché were present at the opening ceremony. The High Commissioner hailed the good partnership and cooperation between the BPST – EA and the Rwanda Peace Academy.

The opening ceremony was followed by the keynote address by Lt Gen (Rtd) Romeo Dallaire in which he shared his experience and frustrations from the UN when he was serving as the Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR).

The objective of the course is to develop knowledge, capacity and skills to contribute to the implementation of rule of law in a peace support operations environment. The Genocide, Mass Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice in Peace Support Operations Course was designed and developed at the Rwanda Peace Academy by subject matter experts from Rwanda and the United Kingdom (UK). It is the second time that the course is being conducted at the RPA.

Prior the opening ceremony, course participants visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre and received testimonies on how the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was planned, organised and executed.