The event took place on Wednesday the 27th November 2019 at Mayange Sector, Bugesera District. Those 53 Convicts of the Genocide against the Tutsi asked for forgiveness from survivors and community and said that they regret on inhumane crimes they committed.
This event of seeking pardon contributes significantly to the journey of unity and reconciliation among many Rwandans, and it is an act that Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS) is doing in partnership with Evangelical Associations in Rwanda, like Prison Fellowship, and the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, where Convicts ask pardon from survivors.
This initiative of apologizing to Genocide survivors and pardoning Genocide Convicts solidifies Peace, Unity and Reconciliation. This event was attended by various leaders, like Fiedele Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Mark Kabandana and Boniface Rucagu from Rwandan Elders Advisory Forum, and CP Bosco Kabanda, Correction Division Manager in Rwanda Correctional Service.
Elie Musabyimana, a Convict from Musenyi Sector, Bugesera District, is one of Convicts who asked for forgiveness, for his role in Genocide against Tutsi. He said: “I am one of the cowardly persons in 1994.
I took a part in the 1994 Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi. It was prepared so long, then I help in its implementation. I killed men, women, and children. Please kindly forgive me.” MUSABYIMANA asked pardon to all Rwandans, his relatives whom he did not tell the truth about Genocide against Tutsi, and survivors who attended the event. “I am asking for forgiveness to Emmanuel Muhire, because I killed his father, his elder brother with his five children, and his little brother. I also ask pardon to Gatete, for I killed his sister accusing her to be a Tutsi.” Said MUSABYIMANA.
Emmanuel Muhire, a survivor, said that it was not easy to forgive the killer of his relatives, Elie Musabyimana, but after being trained in the process of healing he absolutely granted pardon. He said “even if I am now alone, it is important to grant pardon. In fact, I pardon Elie Musabyimana from the bottom of my heart. ”
CP Bosco Kabanda, the Correction Division Manager in Rwanda Correctional Service (RCS), requested Genocide Convicts to ask pardon wholeheartedly and to provide full information instead of providing half information.
He said “what we need from you, is that your seeking for forgiveness should be sincere, and the information you provide on Tutsi you killed have to be full in order to know the whereabouts of their bodies and give them a decent burial. This will make survivors feel at ease.”
The Executive Secretary of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Fidele Ndayisaba, said that still being a problem of some of the bodies of victims which have never been found, hinders the journey of Unity and Reconciliation.
He said “there are Convicts who are not yet providing information about their crimes in Genocide perpetrated against Tutsi in 1994. We solicit Convicts to provide meaningful information, and those information should urgently be assessed in order to exhume bodies of victims and give them a decent burial.”
There are more than 27000 Genocide Convicts in all prisons in Rwanda, as it is indicated by the figures from Rwanda Correctional Service.