Monday, January 09, 2017

RWANDA - Prosecuting Genocide

"The French couple bringing Rwandan war criminals to justice" PBS NewsHour 1/2/2017


SUMMARY:  In France, a wife-and-husband team has found their life's work in helping to prosecute war crimes from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.  Through their organization, Alain and Dafroza Gauthier provide investigative research in hopes of bringing war criminals to justice.  Special correspondent Jonathan Silvers reports.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  The discovery of mass graves or other evidence of war crimes poses several challenges, chief among them, bringing the alleged war criminals to court.

According to former United States Justice Department official Allan Ryan, the recent introduction of what's known as universal jurisdiction has made it easier to prosecute these suspected war criminals.

ALLAN RYAN, Former Attorney, U.S.  Justice Department:  Universal jurisdiction is not a universal concept yet.  It allows trials to be held where otherwise they might not be.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  In France, universal jurisdiction has made it possible for a husband and wife to pursue alleged war criminals behind the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Special correspondent Jonathan Silvers has that story.

JONATHAN SILVERS, special correspondent:  For the past 15 years, Dafroza Gauthier has risen at first light to probe the Rwandan genocide and track down fugitive perpetrators, notably the slaughter's architects and executioners.

Gauthier was born and raised in Rwanda and, until recently, worked in the chemical industry.  But she has become a formidable war crimes investigator, by necessity.

DAFROZA GATHER, Rwandan Genocide Investigator (through translator):  We began by collecting information and testimony from our close friends and families.  But the more we heard their stories, the more we knew that something had to be done.

JONATHAN SILVERS:  Dafroza Gauthier has only one memento of her family, this photo of her mother, who was murdered along with scores of relatives in the spring of 1994.  Gauthier was living in Belgium when the genocide began, and she learned about her family members' demise in real time, via a series of phone calls to her native village in Rwanda.

The violence was rooted in longstanding ethnic division between the governing Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority.  In the space of 100 days, roughly 800,000 men, women, and children were killed, mostly ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutus.

DAFROZA GAUTHIER (through translator):  One day, people should ask the question why the world abandoned the Tutsis in Rwanda.  There are nation, states, politicians who should ask forgiveness of the Rwandan people.

No comments: