On this solemn day, we remember the lives lost during 100 days of unspeakable violence. We grieve for the hundreds of thousands of Tutsi victims – men, women, and children – who were targets of genocidal violence because of their ethnicity. We also remember the Hutu, Twa, and others who were murdered due to their opposition to a genocidal regime. We stand with the survivors who witnessed these terrible crimes and still mourn the loss of their loved ones.
Following the horrific events of 1994, Rwanda united in reconciliation. It pursued community justice to try over a million suspects and help communities heal from unforgivable wounds, while the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda pursued high level suspects. Rwanda invested in the country’s development and the health and education of its people, achieving impressive results in a few short decades. The United States has been proud to be Rwanda’s partner in this process.
As we join in remembering the victims and reaffirming our support for the people of Rwanda in their continued efforts for unity and renewal, we oppose any attempt to misrepresent the historical record for political purposes. In particular, we strongly oppose any denial or minimization of the genocide that targeted Tutsi. We also remember how hate speech was used to incite people to commit genocidal violence. We urge those who employ hateful rhetoric today to consider the power of their words and use them to promote peace rather than foment violence and hate.
The United States has been and will remain one of Rwanda’s strongest supporters in seeking accountability for the genocide. We helped to establish and support the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and we continue to offer rewards leading to the arrest of the remaining fugitives wanted by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. The United States will never stop working with Rwanda to bring those responsible for genocide to justice.
Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to join you on this somber day. Today and every day, let us recommit to protecting the vulnerable, promoting accountability for atrocities, and ensuring that mass atrocities like this never happen again.
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