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Human Remains and IdentificationMass violence, genocide, and the 'forensic turn'$

Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097560

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097560.001.0001

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Bury or display? The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda

Bury or display? The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda

Chapter:
(p.203) 9 Bury or display? The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda
Source:
Human Remains and Identification
Author(s):

Rémi Korman

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097560.003.0009

Abstract and Keywords

Contrary to other countries that suffered mass violence in the late twentieth century, such as Bosnia, the issue of individual identification or DNA identification has never been considered seriously by the national and international agents of the memory in Rwanda. The lack of forensic investigation is a result of the financial situation of the Rwandan state after the genocide. In 1996, Rwanda was officially declared as the poorest country in the world. How in this context did Rwandan and international agents manage the memory of the genocide and especially the corpses? Considering the absence of a state-led individual identification program, how did exhumations occur and for what purposes? Who were the agents of exhumations in Rwanda? But also, what is the history behind the conservation of bones and corpses in genocide memorials? Based upon the study of the public archives of the National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide, this paper sheds some historical light on the debates around the management of genocide corpses in Rwanda since 1994.

Keywords:   Rwanda, Identification, Commemoration, NGOs, Forensics, Memorial, Corpses, Anthropology

The practices and techniques employed by forensic anthropologists in the scientific documentation of human rights violations, and situations of mass murder and genocide in particular, have developed enormously since the early 1990s.1 The best-known case studies concern Latin American countries which suffered under the dictatorships of the 1970s–1980s, Franco’s Spain, and Bosnia. In Rwanda, the first forensic study of a large-scale massacre was carried out one year before the genocide, in January 1993, in the context of a report produced by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) on ‘the violations of human rights in Rwanda since 1 October’, the date marking the beginning of the country’s civil war.2 Although still comparatively little studied, this period constitutes a link between the pre-and post-genocide context.

Since 1994, however, very few formal forensic investigations have in fact been carried out in Rwanda. Nevertheless, several thousand exhumations have been organized over the last twenty years by survivors of the genocide, churches, and the Rwandan state itself. What accounts for the specific features of the Rwandan case in this respect? In what context are these genocide exhumations carried out and who exactly are the actors organizing them in Rwanda? How are the mass graves to be located, opened, and selected, and how are the exhumed victims identified?

The question of the role of foreign forensic anthropologists in Rwanda since the genocide is particularly important. While the role (p.204) of foreign specialists in the memorialization and commemoration of the genocide is relatively well known, the activity of forensic anthropologists remains less thoroughly documented.3 Some of them came to Rwanda in the context of the criminal investigations carried out by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). What techniques did they use? What were their findings, and what relationships did they build with the Rwandan state and the country’s population? Latterly, since the early 2000s, several international teams of forensic anthropologists have come to Rwanda in order to assist with the preservation of bodies, as opposed to their forensic examination. How should this new approach be understood? What does it tell us about the links between politics and forensic practices, and is it possible in this respect to talk of ‘embedded’ forensic anthropology?

In order to answer these questions, we will begin by considering the role of Rwandan actors in the exhumation and (re)burial of bodies of victims of the genocide. We will then re-examine the history of the forensic investigations which took place in Rwanda under the auspices of the ICTR. Lastly, we will consider the question of the political and/or geopolitical dimension of forensic anthropology.

The chronology and geography of exhumations

When the new government of National Unity was set up in July 1994, Rwanda was a country on its knees. Urgency was the order of the day in every ministry, where unpaid staff had the task of imagining a future for the nation, in spite of the genocide and the millions of refugees, both internal and external. Given this context, the question of the bodies from the genocide littering the country was not an urgent priority.

Once they returned to their former homes, survivors attempted to locate the places where their loved ones had been buried by the killers during the genocide. They then set about organizing the first exhumations of bodies which had been buried in small pits or latrines or simply placed in depressions in the ground in order to restore these victims their dignity. However, these exhumations and reburials proved in practice to be very difficult to organize because of the limited physical and economic means at the survivors’ disposal. The different logistical methods used by the killers during the genocide posed a particular problem. In some cases the killers had left bodies scattered over a wide area, while in others they had used Caterpillar earth-movers to dig huge mass graves.4 In the latter case, exhumation would only be possible with a similarly vast logistical effort.

(p.205) Immediately after the genocide, the resources necessary for this operation were first provided through the assistance of churches, and the Catholic Church in particular. Despite the heavy losses it had sustained during the genocide, it remained, along with the Rwandan Patriotic Army, the only stable institution in Rwanda. Such mass exhumations of bodies were particularly widespread in the Butare prefecture, where the Commission for the Re-launch of Pastoral Activities encouraged debate on the place that should be given to the dead of the genocide and the importance of giving victims a decent burial.5 Public exhumations were organized, during which survivors would look for any trace of their loved ones’ clothes or other objects. Where identification was possible, survivors generally wished to bury the bodies on the family’s land, although the Church preferred the creation of dedicated collective cemeteries.

From 1994 onwards, the responsibility for these collective exhumations and reburials was taken over by the state through the emergency decent burial programme. Administered by the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs (Minitraso), the objective of this programme was the collective reburial of victims exhumed from primary mass graves.6 After being funded for two years by the WHO and UNICEF, in 1996 it was incorporated within the remit of the Genocide Memorial Commission (Commission mémorial du génocide), the official commission within the Ministry of Culture dealing with questions of memory.

Consequently, since 1996, exhumations of bodies from the genocide have taken different forms according to the situation in question. In some places, primary mass graves continue to be discovered and in this case the bodies are exhumed and given a collective burial either in new or existing genocide cemeteries. Further exhumations have also been needed because of the difficult conditions under which the programme of decent burial was originally carried out following the genocide. By the end of the 1990s, many cemeteries were in a poor state. The limited resources available for reburials following the genocide had an impact on the physical stability of the graves. Corruption and the awarding of contracts to the lowest bidder also led to low-quality materials being used. These economic and material problems were compounded by climatic factors, as many collective graves which had been hastily dug in 1994 were subsequently destroyed by landslides during the rainy seasons of the spring of 1995 and that of 1996.

The exact meaning of the concept of decent burial has also shifted over the last twenty years. In the context of the Minitraso programme, (p.206) reburial most often meant bodies simply being placed in mass graves on top of plastic sheeting, sometimes still clothed and mixed in with the personal effects of the dead.7 With the improving economic situation of the early 2000s, this type of burial came to be seen as degrading. Some of the new exhumations of secondary mass graves can thus be explained by a desire to give a ‘proper’ decent burial, involving the washing of bones, the separation of bodies from other objects, and the placing of human remains in draped coffins. In this sense, these new practices mark the reburial with a certain ritualization.8

Lastly, this new interpretation of decent burial was accompanied from the mid-2000s onwards by an economic and administrative rationalization of the treatment of bodies. This rationalization was first and foremost economic, owing to the cost of preserving and maintaining the cemeteries and memorials to the genocide. Genocide cemeteries were thus grouped with larger cemeteries and memorial sites. However, administrative rationalization also occurred following a new round of regional reforms. Each district was now required to have its own genocide cemetery, which therefore involved further consolidation. The most contentious matter in this respect concerned bodies being buried by surviving family members on their own land. Following numerous land reforms, in particular in the city of Kigali, large-scale expropriations and population movements have occurred since the end of the 1990s. This new situation has made keeping bodies on private land very difficult. These exhumation policies are often carried out in difficult circumstances. Such repeated exhumations are extremely painful for survivors.9

If the burial of a body is commonly considered as a moment of closure in the mourning process, what is one to make of the impact of a second, third, or even fourth official exhumation/reburial of this same body? These various policies of exhumation and reburial cut across one another, sometimes in quite contradictory ways, making the process of burial at a national level difficult to read. Above all, it has become increasingly difficult to be sure of the exact location of the original mass graves.

Identification and display: privacy and collective dimensions of the dead

Although it is important to avoid sweeping generalizations, it does seem to be the case that, since 1994, survivors’ organizations and the Rwandan state have taken diametrically opposed views with respect to the identification of victims.10 For the majority of survivors, the (p.207) priority since 1994 has been to identify individuals. Every survivor would like to find the body of every member of their family. For the state, the principal concern is the collective identification of victims. Victims are thus identified purely as victims of the genocide, and for the state this anonymity is a reflection of the identity of the crime itself. Genocide does not target individuals but rather a collective, and it is the latter which is identified as the victim. This opposition between individual identification on the one hand and categorized or collective identification on the other is visible in all the debates surrounding the memory of the genocide. It is also manifest in the reports aiming to establish the number of victims. Whereas for the last twenty years the state has been publishing reports focusing on numbers and statistics on a county-wide scale, the IBUKA survivors’ association released a report in 1999 entitled Dictionnaire nominatif des victimes du génocide en Préfecture de Kibuye (Nominal Dictionary of Victims of the Genocide in Kibuye Prefecture).11

These debates over the individual or collective dimension of bodies were thrown into stark relief during the vote over the 2008 law on genocide cemeteries and memorials, which states that ‘memorial sites and cemeteries for victims of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi shall be in the public domain’ (article 3) and that the ‘Remains of genocide victims which were formerly buried shall be transferred to genocide memorial sites and cemeteries as provided for by this Law, upon the initiative of the relatives or upon consultation with the District administration’ (article 6).12

Historically, this preference for the collective identification of victims has been inscribed within the programmes put in place to preserve and study corpses in Rwanda since 1994. The National University of Rwanda launched a project aiming to preserve evidence of the genocide shortly after reopening and, in 1995, put out a request for assistance from specialists in forensic matters in the Great Lakes region.13 The assistance in question related to the preservation of bodies and not the analysis of the causes of the victims’ deaths. As far as Rwandan actors were concerned, the cause of death was inscribed upon these bodies (cut-marks on skulls, tendons, or other body parts) and thus deemed to have been established by implication. Consequently, whereas the preservation of skeletal remains was central to this project, descriptions of bodies and their injuries are nowhere to be found in official records.

The particular focus on the preservation of bodies can to a large extent be explained by the major role played by Célestin Kanimba Misago in these matters following the genocide. A renowned (p.208) archaeologist in what was then Zaïre, he came back to live in Rwanda in 1994 after more than twenty years spent in exile. He became director of Rwanda’s National Museum in 1996, and this institution was given the official task of advising the government regarding the techniques for use in the treatment of bodies and in exhumations, in partnership with the Commission pour le mémorial du génocide et des massacres (‘Commission Mémorial’). Both institutions began working on the mass graves at this time. The Commission Mémorial concentrated principally on locating genocide sites, but also worked on coordinating decent burials as well as organizing commemorations and the construction of memorials. The task of exhuming bodies and preserving bones fell to the National Museum of Rwanda, along with the various prefectures and communes (municipalities). These initial actions took place in what was an extremely difficult political and economic context across the country. Under-resourced, they were consequently carried out by actors who did not often have the necessary expertise.

The role of Mario Ibarra, a Chilean who spent two years working in Rwanda as a ‘skeletal remains expert’ with the Commission Mémorial and the National Museum, is particularly interesting in this respect. He arrived in 1994 as an observer with the UN human rights mission, for which he worked for eighteen months. Interested in the question of the preservation of evidence, he produced a report on the bodies exhumed in Murambi in January 1996, while he was still under contract with the UN. In March 1996 he began working as a volunteer for the Commission Mémorial, and continued to do so until 1997, when he suddenly left the country in some haste. He returned in June 1997 and left for good in July, having been unable to raise the funds needed to finance his work.

Described in Rwandan records and by those Rwandan actors who came into contact with him as an expert on the question of exhumation and the preservation of bodies, Mario Ibarra in actual fact possessed only a degree in sociology.14 His interest in the question of bodies was in part personal, as a result of his own suffering under the dictatorship in Chile.15 In the absence of a context that could supply adequate forensic expertise and financial resources alike, workers tried their hand at preserving bodies themselves, occasionally leading to the destruction of the latter. Some employees did receive proper training on the preservation of bones in 1997 during a four-day seminar organized at the National Museum of Rwanda. However, after a year with no salary, they had all left their respective posts. Nevertheless, the work carried out in these early years was the (p.209) nearest thing there was at this time to the forensic investigations carried out by the staff of the ICTR.

Bodies as evidence of crime: forensic anthropologists in tribunal

The special investigation unit teams

Set up in November 1994 by the United Nations Security Council, the ICTR is dedicated to pursuing and judging those responsible for the genocide. Right from the start, the Office of the Prosecutor decided to focus its efforts on material evidence. For this reason, the use of forensic investigations was encouraged. For the Office of the Prosecutor, such investigations would allow it to counter the classic defence deployed by the accused right from the beginning in 1994, namely to claim that the massacres were committed as a result of ‘popular anger’ or an ‘inter-ethnic war’.

In anticipation of the work that the ICTR would have to carry out, a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) consisting of two teams was formed in 1994.16 The first would investigate sites of genocide while the second would deal with documentation and search for evidence. During a follow-up mission that lasted from 29 October to 7 November 1994, two forensic science experts provided by Spain studied various genocide sites. While no exhumations were performed owing to a lack of funds and the limited time available, bodies that had not been buried could nevertheless be examined. In the absence of any exhumation, the report published by this mission would give details of locations and any remains and objects found.17 This report concentrates in particular on the study of the Ntamara church site, where 385 skulls and skeletons were found together. The identification work carried out on the sex and age of the victims was very revealing, as 81 per cent of the victims were shown to have been women or children of less than six years old, attesting to the ‘asymmetrical nature of the violence’.18 The team’s report also gave precise descriptions of the injuries to the bodies, demonstrating how the manner of the massacre fitted into the practices of cruelty that are the mark of genocide.19 Injuries were not just caused by blunt weapons, as the Spanish experts found traces of explosions and shooting in the church, leading them to conclude that at least one automatic weapon was used in the massacre. Once again, the presence at a single site of small arms alongside (p.210) improvised weapons contradicts the thesis that seeks to explain the genocide as an act of ‘popular anger’.

Physicians for Human Rights

Following the official investigation carried out by the SIU and the launching of the first prosecution proceedings against Clément Kayishema,20 the Prosecutor’s Office sought the continuation of forensic investigations in Rwanda. A lack of forensic experts in the ICTR meant that the NGO Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) was given the task of collecting evidence.21 An official request for assistance was submitted to the director of PHR by the chief prosecutor of the ICTR on 17 October 1995.22 A suitably qualified individual, Bill Haglund, was assigned to the Prosecutor’s Office and set about assembling a team of international experts.23 Their forensic expertise would in the end be used in two trials: the simultaneous trial of Clément Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana, and subsequently that of Georges Rutaganda.

Between September and December 1995, Dr Haglund made several preliminary visits to Rwanda in order to locate suitable sites for examination. His selection was in the end based on three main criteria: ease of transport and logistics, security conditions on and around the sites, and the lack of any previous excavations of the sites in question. This last point was the most problematic of the three, owing to the disorganized excavations that had already been carried out by survivors. José Paraybar, a member of PHR who was in Rwanda from 1995 to 1996, has described this period:

I remember the families were coming. Literally, they were like a bulldozer. They were just coming by literally exhuming, you know, as if they were working the fields. They were just like with the shovels and whatever. They were just like exhuming these pieces of people that were coming out.24

This situation made finding completely untouched sites difficult, even less than a year after the genocide. Since the three criteria defined by Bill Haglund were fulfilled by the mass graves situated at the Home Saint-Jean in Kibuye, the first forensic investigation was performed here between 6 January and 27 February 1996. Owing to time restrictions, exhumations were only carried out in one of the five pits. However, PHR did examine skeletal remains left on the surface. Over the six weeks of the (p.211) investigation, 493 bodies were examined.25 Almost two-thirds of them were women and children under fifteen years old.

The Amgar Garage case

The second and final forensic investigation carried out by PHR took place in Kigali between 30 May and 17 June 1996. This investigation concentrated on the individual murders ordered or committed by Georges Rutaganda in the vicinity of his garage, the ‘Amgar Garage’, in the centre of Kigali. Over these three weeks of exhuming and identifying bodies, twenty-seven bodies were dug up and studied. In addition to the identification of the bodies by category, DNA tests were also performed in order to establish individual identities.

Following the investigation carried out at the Amgar Garage, the Rwandan government, in a joint decision with the Prosecutor, decided to stop these exhumations and forensic investigations.26 The majority of the published studies examining this major turning point explain this choice in terms of the ‘shock’ felt by survivors on seeing these exhumations being carried out, a reaction which formed the focus of a demonstration organized by the Ikuba association in 1996.27 On balance, however, this hypothesis seems improbably simple. It is more likely that the explanation is to be found in the political climate of this period, the beginning of 1996 having been marked by the ending of the mandate of the second United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR II) in an acrimonious international context.28 Another hypothesis is that the Rwandan government was unhappy with the preferential treatment given by the United Nations to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). It is true that several investigators with PHR did split their time between Rwanda and Bosnia. Whatever the truth behind this decision, the absence of forensic studies during the trials conducted by the ICTR after 1996 weakened the cases brought by the Prosecutor’s Office, who were thus forced to change their initial strategy.

Lastly, certain criticisms have been made regarding the scientific methods employed by Bill Haglund and the PHR team despatched to Kibuye and the Amgar Garage. These criticisms often emanated from defence lawyers, but also from some expert witnesses called by the defence teams of the ICTR and the ICTY. Indeed, it was at the ICTY that, in order to forestall attacks by the defence on the credibility of the work carried out by Bill Haglund, the prosecution had (p.212) to remind the court that ‘in spite of the management and logistical problems, the scientific validity of his work cannot be questioned’.29 According to the prosecution, any mistakes were mainly due to the speed with which these investigations were forced to be carried out.30 When called as an expert witness for the defence during the trial of Georges Rutaganda, however, Kathleen Reichs did nevertheless point out what she perceived as a number of methodological errors.31 Such methodological debates between forensic anthropologists pose important questions regarding the incorporation of forensic knowledge within historical studies.

From the international circulation of knowledge to embedded forensic anthropology

While in charge of forensic investigations in Rwanda on behalf of the ICTR, PHR did not, however, collaborate with the Rwandan state in any way. As a result, in these early years the memory of the genocide was managed for the most part by local actors. The situation changed after 2000 with the advent of economic growth, more stable institutions, and the internationalization of the memory of the genocide.32 The arrival of the British AEGIS foundation in Rwanda in 2001–2, in the context of the construction of the national genocide memorial at Gisozi in Kigali, marked a turning point in this process. The latter organization did not simply build monuments, but also became involved with the development of research projects dealing with both the sites of the genocide and the preservation of bodies. It would commission a report into the preservation of these remains from the INFORCE Foundation six years after the last investigations by the ICTR.

However, the objectives here were very different from those of the ICTR trials. The idea now was to use forensic knowledge to help preserve the skeletal remains on display in genocide memorials, along with the mummified bodies displayed at Murambi. A preliminary study was carried out at various genocide sites in November 2002 by Lynne Bell and Margaret Cox.33 The latter is the founder of the International Forensic Centre of Excellence (INFORCE), which was based at the University of Bournemouth until 2007, when it was transferred to Cranfield University.34 Cranfield University and its department of forensic sciences have thus been working with the NGO INFORCE in Rwanda since 2007, building on the first study of 2002. In May 2009, at the invitation of the National Commission (p.213) for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG), several students from the university, supervised by a member of INFORCE, went to Rwanda to collect data on 300 sets of human remains and twenty mummified bodies located in Murambi. This investigation formed the basis of the human remains conservation project which was presented at the conference on the preservation of evidence of genocide organized in Kigali in February 2010.35 Staff from the CNLG were then invited to Cranfield University to inspect the equipment that would be sent to Rwanda.36 This equipment has subsequently been installed on-site in Murambi to be used as a mobile laboratory. According to the INFORCE Foundation, this mobile laboratory will allow bodies to be preserved by placing them in hermetically sealed compartments which should ‘last more than 150 years without any deterioration’.37

Embedded science?

What can account for the fact that forensic experts have been invited to Rwanda and not specialists in the preservation of human remains? Looking beyond the question of the specific actors involved and the methods they employ, it is important to examine their motivations and also the conditions in which they carry out their work. Since no interviews have yet been conducted with the actors in question regarding these points, the arguments presented here are necessarily embryonic. Nevertheless, what comes across very clearly is that several organizations working in the field of forensic anthropology, including INFORCE, have developed close links with certain political and military institutions.

The debates surrounding ‘embedded anthropology’ have become particularly important following the wars in Afghanistan and then Iraq in the context of the ‘Human Terrain System’, which saw the incorporation of anthropologists and other researchers in the social sciences within the armed forces, with a view to gaining a better understanding of the situation on the ground with respect to the populations affected by the war.38 Generally speaking, ‘embedding’ refers to the links developed between academics or other researchers and the military. However, this concept can be enlarged. Such a situation raises ethical issues regarding the role and working methods of the researcher, as well as political issues regarding the researcher’s involvement in a specific cause. In May 2003, a few days after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the INFORCE Foundation began (p.214) excavating mass graves in Iraq. The organization’s director, Margaret Cox, told a journalist that:

One of the challenges is to make sure that our goals are not influenced by the political regime. If you are asked to excavate a grave, you have an obligation to make sure it is part of a larger investigative process, so that you know that that grave has been selected for reasons that are about justice and not politics.39

The arrival of the INFORCE Foundation in Iraq in direct partnership with the Foreign Office is a clear case of embedded forensic anthropology. In examples such as this, and as stated by Cox, it is vital to underline the importance for critical sociology of retaining a distance from the national and international actors involved in the processes of exhumation.40

The situation in Rwanda is not one in which forensic anthropology is so obviously ‘embedded’. Nevertheless, it should still be pointed out that Cranfield University, where INFORCE is based, has a Department of Defence and Security with very close links to the UK Defence Academy. The link becomes clear when one considers the collaborative publication between the INFORCE Foundation and a ballistics and ammunition specialist at Cranfield University for the UK Ministry of Defence. This document was published as an annexe to the Mutsinzi report on the causes and circumstances surrounding the deadly attack of 6 April 1994 on the aircraft carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana.41 Commissioned by the Rwandan government, this report raises questions about the institutional cooperation between NGOs, academia, politics, and the military that have not been addressed by academia thus far.

Conclusions on technology, memory, and history

As we have seen, numerous historical, ethical, and political issues are raised by exhumations. The same is true of DNA testing. Given the economic situation in Rwanda directly after the genocide, the latter technique was never given serious consideration. In recent years, however, various actors working in the field of memory have been attempting to change this situation by promoting the virtues of DNA analysis. The NGO DNA for Africa, for instance, despite its somewhat marginal status, is seeking to set up a programme along the lines of the International Commission on Missing Persons established in Bosnia in 1995.42 More recently, the Canadian researcher Erin Jessee (p.215) has published a policy report urging the Rwandan government to set up four major projects alongside their work on exhumation and identification.43 Her proposals include the establishment of a centre for forensic studies, the creation of a database of DNA samples from survivors of the genocide, and an active programme of scientific exhumations in order to ensure the identification of human remains and allow their reburial according to the wishes of surviving relatives. Yet just what would such a country-wide scheme of victimidentification entail in logistical and economic terms? Not only that, such a policy would require a new wave of mass exhumations, which would be contrary to the stated wish of the government to bring closure to the memorial process.

In addition to the political issues raised by these proposals, they pose the question of the historical aspirations of forensic science. The writings of many forensic anthropologists would have us believe that the history of mass killings can be read on the bodies of the victims, which become conflated with the body social as a whole. As a counterpoint to this positivist vision of forensic knowledge, however, the limits of its usefulness for the historian need to be pointed out. How, for instance, does DNA identification or forensic analysis help us to distinguish between massacres committed against Hutus for political reasons and the genocide committed against the Tutsi, given that the bodies of both are more often than not buried in the same places? In fact, forensic analyses can only ever be placed in a more general narrative of the history of events. More importantly, perhaps, in the case of Rwanda, the value which forensic anthropologists ascribe to exhumations and identification in terms of achieving reconciliation and restoring broken relations would seem to be based more on a political desire than on any actual demand from within society.

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République rwandaise, ‘Loi portant organisation des sites mémoriaux et cimetières pour les victimes du génocide perpétré contre les Tutsi au Rwanda’, Journal Officiel, 2008, pp. 62–77

Seutcheu, M., ‘Working together to prosecute human rights criminals: an insider account of the relationship between human rights organizations and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’, taken from the workshop on ‘Human Rights: Issue Linkages and the New Human Rights Agenda’, for the Visiting Fellows Program of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, 2003

‘Uncovering the evidence’, Voices on Genocide Prevention, audio podcast (Washington, DC: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), 2009

Vidal, C., ‘Les commémorations du génocide au Rwanda’, Les Temps Modernes, 631 (2001), 1–46

Vidal, C., ‘Le génocide des rwandais tutsi: cruauté délibérée et logiques de haine’, in F. Héritier (ed.), De la violence (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1996), pp. 325–66

Wallace, J., ‘Seeker of truths digging for justice’, Times Higher Education Supplement, 24 September 2004

Warden, M. C. & A. McClue, ‘Investigation into the crash of Dassault Falcon 50 registration number 9XR-NN on 6 April 1994 carrying former president Juvénal Habyarimana’, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom Cranfield University, 27 February 2009, p. 112

Notes:

(1) L. Fondebrider, ‘Reflections on the scientific documentation of human rights violations’, International Review of the Red Cross, 84: 848 (2002), 885–91.

(2) FIDH Africa Watch, UIDH & CIDPDD, ‘Commission internationale d’enquête sur les violations des droits de l’homme au Rwanda depuis le 1er octobre 1990’, March 1993, p. 123.

(3) R. Ibreck, ‘International constructions of national memories: the aims and effects of foreign donors’ support for genocide remembrance in Rwanda’, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 7 (2013), 149–69.

(p.216) (4) N. Eltringham, ‘Exhibition, dissimulation et “culture”: le traitement des corps dans le génocide rwandais’, in É. Anstett & J.-M. Dreyfus (eds), Cadavres impensables, cadavres impensés: approches méthodologiques du traitement des corps dans les violences de masse et les génocides (Paris: Éditions Petra, 2012), pp. 93–105, p. 101.

(5) The Commission for the Re-launch of Pastoral Activities, at this time led by Laurien Ntezimana, organized numerous events addressing the issues raised by these commemorations. See C. Vidal, ‘Les commémorations du génocide au Rwanda’, Les Temps Modernes, 613 (2001), 1–46, p. 9.

(6) R. Korman, ‘Le Rwanda face à ses morts ou les cimetières du génocide comme lieux de mémoire’, Université Paris1, Génocides et politiques mémorielles, 2012, available at http://chs.univ-paris1.fr/genocides_et_politiques_memorielles (accessed 20 November 2013).

(7) When one such large secondary grave was exhumed in Nyanza de Kicukiro in 2011, the bodies were stilled clothed and mixed in with their personal effects. A grenade was also discovered, the disposal of which required specialist intervention.

(8) Regarding this point, see the following films: G. Ndahayo, Rwanda: Beyond the Deadly Pit, Ndahayo Films, 2009; E. Kabera (director), Les gardiens de la mémoire, Link Media Production, 2004.

(9) See the remarks made by Hélène Dumas during the following radio programme: E Laurentin, ‘La fabrique de l’histoire’, France-Culture (broadcast 26 February 2010).

(10) As always, it is necessary to qualify this opposition. One encounters survivors working within state institutions, while other survivors agree wholeheartedly with these policies.

(11) IBUKA, Dictionnaire nominatif des victimes du génocide en Préfecture de Kibuye (Kigali: IBUKA, 1999). Emphasis added.

(12) République rwandaise, ‘Loi portant organisation des sites mémoriaux et cimetières pour les victimes du génocide perpétré contre les Tutsi au Rwanda’, Journal Officiel, 2008, pp. 62–77.

(13) In this period, university lecturers were mainly drawn from the Tutsi diaspora, who were returning from Zaïre and Burundi. Faced with the challenge of preserving traces of the genocide, several academics formed an informal committee tasked with preserving and documenting evidence of the genocide. This committee, led by the archaeologist Célestin Kanimba Misago, included the historian Joseph Jyoni Wa Karega and the anthropologist Aloys Rufangura. It brought together researchers from the CERCOSH (Centre d’Études et de Recherches Contemporaines en Sciences Humaines) of the National University of Rwanda, based in Butare. For more information, see the correspondence between professors Vincent Mubiligi and Vénérand Bigirimana: V. Mubiligi & V. Bigirimana, ‘Conservation des restes humains’, CNLG Archives, November 1995.

(14) Interview with Louis Kanamugire (former director of the Commission Mémorial), Kigali, 14 September 2010.

(15) It has not been possible to find details of his personal history in the records of the Valech Commission, which has the job of listing the victims of the Chilean dictatorship.

(p.217) (16) High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights, Field Operation for Human Rights in Rwanda. Groupe des enquêtes spéciales, ‘SIU, rapport final d’enquête sur le génocide’, Kigali, 4 December 1995.

(17) Nations Unies, Haut Commissaire aux Droits de l’Homme et al., ‘Mision en Ruanda. Informe medico-forense’, Madrid, 22 November 1994.

(18) These remarks on forensic investigations are drawn heavily on the thesis recently submitted by Hélène Dumas. See H. Dumas, ‘Juger le génocide sur les collines: une étude des procès gacaca au Rwanda (2006–2012)’ (unpublished thesis, Paris, EHESS, 2013), p. 40.

(19) C. Vidal, ‘Le génocide des rwandais tutsi: cruauté délibérée et logiques de haine’, in F. Héritier (ed.), De la violence (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1996), pp. 325–66.

(20) See trials ICTR-95-1 and ICTR-96-3.

(21) PHR defines itself as an organization which seeks to use medicine and science in order to ‘stop mass killing and human rights violations’.

(22) M. Seutcheu, ‘Working together to prosecute human rights criminals: an insider account of the relationship between human rights organisations and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’, for the workshop on ‘Human Rights: Issue Linkages and the New Human Rights Agenda’, for the Visiting Fellows Program of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, 2003, p. 35.

(23) A social history of the investigators working for PHR would be particularly interesting. Many of them originally come from Latin America or have worked on the crimes committed in Latin America in the 1970s– 80s. By taking their histories into account, some nuance may be brought to the idea of the Holocaust’s omnipresence with regard to memory models.

(24) Listen to the audio podcast ‘Uncovering the evidence’, in Voices on Genocide Prevention (Washington, DC: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2009).

(25) It is not possible here to describe in more detail the importance of the voluminous report (700 pages long) published following this investigation. It nonetheless constituted the main piece of evidence used in the trial of Clément Kayishema.

(26) O. Adede, ‘Statement of the registrar of the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda, Ictr/info-9-2-06’, ICTR, 29 April 1996.

(27) T. Cruvellier, Court of Remorse inside the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (trans. C. Voss) (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010), p. 13.

(28) This included the expulsion of dozens of NGOs in December 1995, the slow pace of the ICTR’s work, and the meagre financial assistance provided to the new regime in contrast to the aid given to refugee camps.

(29) M. Klinkner, ‘Forensic science expertise for international criminal proceedings: an old problem, a new context and a pragmatic resolution’, International Journal of Evidence and Proof, 13 (2009), 102–29.

(30) Ibid., pp. 102–29.

(31) K. Reichs, ‘Report on the forensic investigations at the Amgar Garage and nearby vicinity, Kigali Rwanda by William Haglund, PhD’, report to (p.218) Giroud, Peris, Pappas, Sutton, Prihoda & Dickson (defence lawyers of Georges Rutaganda, ICTR-96-3-T), 1999.

(32) H. Dumas & R. Korman, ‘Espaces de la mémoire du génocide des Tutsis au Rwanda’, Afrique Contemporaine, 238 (2011), 11–27.

(33) M. Cox & L. Bell, ‘An initial assessment of the condition and requirements for conservation of human remains at six genocide memorial sites in Rwanda’, Inforce Foundation Report, series 1, 2003.

(34) The INFORCE Foundation has four main objectives: to respect the human needs of families regarding the return of bodies and the choice of burial site, to help in the prosecution of those responsible for these crimes by collecting evidence, to set and disseminate professional standards in forensic science, and to train local staff in forensic science methods.

(35) G. Muramira, ‘Genocide experts meet in Kigali’, New Times, Kigali, 2 June 2010.

(36) The members of this mission included Ildephonse Karengera, director of the Memory and Genocide Prevention department, Martin Muhoza, who was in charge of the conservation of human remains at the CNLG, and the Rwandan MP Evariste Kalisa, then president of the Rwandan parliamentary commission on national unity, human rights, and the fight against genocide.

(37) The bodies will be placed in acrylic coffins, with around twenty bodies being preserved on each site in the first instance.

(38) J. Assayag, ‘L’anthropologie en guerre’, L’Homme, 187–8 (2008), 135–67.

(39) J. Wallace, ‘Seeker of truths digging for justice’, Times Higher Education Supplement, 24 September 2004.

(40) Such a study could follow the model of the work produced by Nicolas Guilhot. See N. Guilhot, The Democracy Makers: Human Rights and the Politics of Global Order (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013). It should be noted that what few studies do exist tend to fall into the realm of speculative conspiracy theories or even genocide denial.

(41) M. C. Warden & A. McClue, ‘Investigation into the crash of Dassault Falcon 50 registration number 9XR-NN on 6 April 1994 carrying former president Juvénal Habyarimana’, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom Cranfield University, 27 February 2009, p. 112.

(42) See www.dna4africa.org/ (accessed 20 November 2013).

(43) E. Jessee, ‘Promoting reconciliation through exhuming and identifying victims in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Cigi-Africa initiative policy’, 17 July 2012, p. 12.