A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has confirmed that the two Belgian diplomats have been recalled by their government in reaction to their act of trivializing genocide, organizing a commemoration function on a different date without consulting or informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as is the practice.
The Rwanda government has always commemorated Belgian para-commandos among victims honored during events held during the commemoration period of 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
The Belgian para-commandos that were in charge of providing protection for the then Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingyimana, were captured and taken to Camp Kigali on the morning of April 7 and massacred by soldiers who accused them of having shot down President Habyarimana’s plane the previous evening.
For 26 years, April 7 has marked the beginning of ceremonies to pay tribute to the victims of the genocide during which one million people were killed in three months. Usually, the tribute to the Belgian peacekeepers takes place on April 8, organized by the military section of the embassy.
The date of April 6 is however problematic, because, corresponding to the anniversary of the attack on the plane of President Habyarimana, it is used for political purposes by certain circles of the Rwandan diaspora.
The National Mourning Ceremony for the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi takes place on 7 April every year and other subsequent ceremonies are organized by stakeholders in conjunction with competent national authorities.
Some of the key symbols observed during commemoration ceremonies like the lowering of the national flag to half-mast are provided for by the law and thus cannot be done without following the right procedure.
After the scam event which took place on 6 April 2020, the Government of Rwanda protested to the Government of Belgium which decided to recall the two diplomats.