Genocide was product of ignored intolerance, Rwandan Diplomat Martin Ngoga says

Wednesday April 10 2024

Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Kenya Martin Ngoga. PHOTO | X via Rwanda High Commission to Kenya @RwandaInKenya)


Rwanda says societies should watch out for ‘ignored’ intolerance between people of different backgrounds, if at all the world can prevent future genocides.

And as part of lessons learnt from its own calamity 30 years ago, the Rwandan government says it learnt a bitter one after successive authorities ignored entrenched intolerance.

Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Kenya Martin Ngoga told an audience on Tuesday that the tragic genocide it faced in 1994 should serve as a powerful reminder to confront hatred, discrimination, and division wherever it may arise.

“Genocide is not an isolated event but a consequence of a society that has allowed prejudice and intolerance to take root,” he told an audience of diplomats, Rwandan diaspora and government officials in Nairobi at a ceremony to mark 30 years of Genocide against the Tutsi.

Read: A rebuilt Rwanda, three decades later

“We must ensure that the lessons of the past are never forgotten. We must strive to create a world where diversity is celebrated, where differences are respected, and where all individuals can live free from fear and discrimination,” he noted.


Rwanda has been marking 30 years of the genocide, a tragic piece of history in that country when at least a million people were killed in 100 days. It took the Rwanda Patriotic Front then led by Paul Kagame to stop the massacres blamed on the then Hutu-dominated army.

Yet, Rwanda feels there is still something simmering in the background which could bring future danger.

Ngoga said Rwanda’s allies and the international community in general should continue fighting perpetrators including bring to justice the perpetrators of 1994 atrocities.

“Genocide deniers, including a number of academics, continue to perpetuate negations by conveniently ignoring the judgements of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Negationism can in no way be accepted as a tolerable opinion or a legitimate right. Genocide denial is a crime, and therefore must be fought by all means,” he underscored, referring to the tribunal that tried some of the suspects before folding in 2016, and was based in Arusha.

It indicted some 96 people directly involved in the planning, funding or execution of the genocide although many other suspects were tried in local Gacaca courts in Rwanda.

Read: US charges man for lying about role in Rwanda genocide

“Perpetrators and deniers of the Genocide against the Tutsi still continue to move freely in many parts of the world, spreading hate ideology and misinformation on the facts surrounding the genocide against the Tutsi. This commemoration is therefore a collective plea to members of the international community to ensure the arrest of genocide perpetrators and to deny platforms to the deniers of the genocide against the Tutsi.”

On January 26, 2018, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution designating the 7th of April of each year as the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994.

Rwanda's commemoration period lasts for 100 days, which represents the duration of the genocide in 1994.

At the ceremony in Nairobi, held at the UN headquatres in Gigiri, Kenya lauded the strides made by Rwanda after experiencing one of the horrific genocides of the 20th century, pledging Nairobi’s continued cooperation for mutual prosperity.

Kenya's Principal Secretary for Foreign Affair Dr Korir Sing’oei s said that Nairobi stands in solidarity with Rwanda and her people, and that his country draws inspiration from how Kigali was able to rebuild and overcome its tragic past.

"We are inspired by Rwanda's determination to forge ahead with an unwavering resolve. Present-day Rwanda serves as a distinct mirror of progress, a nation founded on a united vision for the future anchored in economic and structural reforms,” he said.

“We stand in respect and admiration of the survivors who despite their circumstances have worked tirelessly to rebuild Rwanda as we know it today. Their resolve, resilience, strength, courage and fortitude are an inspiration to humanity.”

Sing’oei also noted that the genocide against the Tutsi serves as a reminder to protect the inherent human rights to life and dignity.

 “We must never forget that the genocide against the Tutsi happened partly because the international community could not master the resolve to act in a preventative fashion to halt an imminent atrocity."