Nyamvumba was speaking yesterday in Kigali while presiding over the opening of two-week long course on ‘Genocide, Mass Atrocity Crimes and Transitional Justice in Peace Support Operations’.
The course is being attended by 24 military and Police officers as well as civilians from Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Zambia.
The training was organised by the Rwanda Peace Academy and funded by the British government through its subsidiary organisation, the British Peace Support Team (BPST).
Nyamvumba said that the Rwanda Peace Academy provides a unique and contextual environment to learn about Genocide, Mass Atrocity crimes and Transitional Justice in Peace Support Operations.
“As future peacekeepers, you will be expected to provide advice on the measures to prevent genocide and mass atrocity crimes. You will also be expected to contribute to capacity development of judicial institutions and mechanisms particularly those of the Host Nations,” he said
He also cautioned course participants on the nature of contemporary peace keeping operations.
“I wish, however, to caution you on the nature of contemporary peacekeeping operations. They function in constantly changing and unpredictable environments with different actors characterised by different and sometimes conflicting interests. Cooperation and engagement with the host government and the opposing party or parties is sometimes not forthcoming. In addition, members of the local population and international community usually have high expectations in peacekeepers both in the protection of civilians, and in administration of justice. This course is therefore important and relevant,” he added.
He told course participants that violence against civilians, war crimes, mass atrocity crimes and crimes against humanity are probably as old as war itself.
Citing examples of Syria, Iraq and some African countries, Nyamvumba said that human atrocities continue to occur in many parts of the world and on a daily basis.
“Violence against civilians and in particular, women and children continues to characterise a number of peacekeeping missions despite many of them having protection of civilian’s mandate,” he said.
The former Force Commander of UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, retired Lt Gen Romeo Dallaire is participating in the training.