Anniversary of Rwanda genocide

Rwandans are still grief-torn and angry over the failure by the international community to stop the killing.

Only a handful of international leaders have travelled to capital Kigali to attend a memorial service.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has repeatedly criticised the outside world for failing to intervene to stop the 100-day slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, despite warnings that Hutu extremists were planning the massacres.

Human rights groups say it will be impossible to ensure such genocides never happen again while powerful nations remain apathetic about impoverished countries in turmoil.

“The risk of genocide remains frighteningly real,” said United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

“The world must be better equipped to prevent genocide and act decisively to stop it when prevention fails.”

The trauma of the genocide continues for many Rwandans, most of whom eke out a subsistence living as peasant farmers.

Many women were infected with AIDS during mass rapes, and hundreds of thousands of children were left orphaned.

Skulls and bones are still being unearthed in latrines or ditches.

“After they’ve been cleaned, we’ll take them to a memorial site,” said worker Faustin Ngango as workers cleaned bones in plastic bowls full of soapy water.

“The memorial will teach future generations what took place and made sure that genocide never happens again in this country.”

The US, Belgium, France and Britain were singled out for blame at a conference in Kigali earlier this week. Mr Annan, who headed the UN peacekeeping unit during the genocide, also received criticism.

“I would like to say very clearly here that I consider that this is a disgrace that he had the Nobel peace prize,” said Belgian senator Alain Destexhe.

France has rejected the criticism, saying the allegations are groundless and scandalous.

Belgium’s Prime Minister Guy Verhfstadt is attending the memorial ceremony, along with US ambassador at large for war crimes, Pierre-Richard Prosper, and a number of African leaders.

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