April 11, 2019 — New York
AJC remembers with profound sorrow the brutal murder of over 800,000 Tutsis, moderate Hutus, and others in a 100-day campaign of horrific violence that began 25 years ago this month. On this 25th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, AJC honors the memory of the victims, and stands in solidarity with the survivors, of this heinous atrocity, and urges all governments to take concrete actions toward preventing mass atrocities and genocide.
“The passage of time does not at all diminish our searing memory of the inconceivable mass murder of Rwandans 25 years ago,” said AJC Chief Executive Officer David Harris “Tragically, the world has yet to absorb fully the lessons of the Holocaust, as genocidal campaigns continue to erupt around the globe.”
The international community already has taken some important steps to respond to the genocide, including creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which operated from November 1994 to December 2015. It has ensured that some of the key perpetrators of the genocide have been held accountable. More than 60 individuals were convicted, but four others indicted by the ICTR are at large. AJC encourages all UN member states to ensure that they are brought to justice.
In addition, AJC calls on governments that have not yet ratified the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide to join with the 150 states that have. The United States ratified the convention in 1988.
AJC also urges governments to strengthen their capacity and resolve to take concerted action in response to warning signs of genocide or other mass atrocities. To this end, AJC has welcomed the adoption by the U.S. Congress of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018. It reaffirms that prevention of atrocities is in the U.S. national interest and reinforces the importance of responding to warning signs of atrocities through interagency mechanisms like the Atrocity Prevention Board.
AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI), in cooperation with the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, prepared a Manual on Human Rights and the Prevention of Genocide.
The UN will commemorate this terrible event at a program at the UN New York Headquarters on April 12, at 10 AM In the General Assembly Hall.
JBI was a strong advocate for creating the UN's international criminal tribunals. Moreover, AJC’s Africa Institute has organized visits to Rwanda to raise awareness of the genocide and its continuing impact.