Some 150 people have admitted taking part in the genocide against the Tutsi and begged for forgiveness from the families whose relatives they contributed in killing local media reports.
Perpetrators asked for forgiveness in Rukumberi, Ngoma district, Eastern Province.
“I am standing before you and asking for forgiveness because I played a role in killing some people during the Genocide against Tutsis,” John Baragata admitted at an event organised by family-based evangelist organisation.
Recently, during a similar event in Ntarama, Bugesera District the Commissioner General of Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS), George Rwigamba revealed that despite efforts by government, most people who took part in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi are yet to show remorse and seek forgiveness.
“25 years later, some people are yet to come forward and talk. They have had enough time to reflect on what they did and some are opening up. It has been a tough journey but together with Prison Fellowship we have achieved a lot and we believe others will also show remorse and apologise,” he said.
“We have over 27,000 Genocide convicts and many of them are yet to show remorse and apologise to the families of the victims. Only about 6,000 (22.2 per cent) have apologised and were forgiven by victims and reconciled,” revealed Rwigamba.
The programme started two decades ago and has helped some prisoners to reintegrate into their communities and meet with the victims and reconcile. Community courts, known as Gacaca, finished their work in 2012 after 10 years of trying those accused of involvement in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The courts were set up to speed up the prosecution of hundreds of thousands of Genocide suspects The United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was set up in Arusha, Tanzania to try the ringleaders of the Genocide.
But this left hundreds of thousands of people accused of involvement in the mass killings, leading to an enormous backlog of cases in Rwanda.
Gacaca courts were set up to clear the backlog but also with the main aim fostering truth, justice and reconciliation. The traditional courts tried close to two million cases within a decade of their existence accumulating a budget of Rwf30 billion less than 3 per cent of funds that were used by the UN funded ICTR which has since also wrapped up its work with mixed results.