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IMPUNITY MUST BECOME 'A RELIC OF THE PAST', SECRETARY-GENERAL STRESSES IN MESSAGE FOR EIGHTEENTH ANNIVERSARY OF RWANDA GENOCIDE

By United Nations - Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General

NEW YORK, April 12, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's video message on the eighteenth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, delivered on 11 April:

Today, we mark the eighteenth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. We remember the more than 800,000 innocent people who lost their lives.

This year's theme is “learning from history to shape a bright future”. Rwanda has learned from the appalling tragedy of 1994. So has the world. Rwanda is making progress towards building a more peaceful and just society. The international community is striving to ensure that similar tragedies never happen again.

The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda delivered the first-ever verdicts in relation to genocide by an international court, and continues to pursue justice and accountability. The International Criminal Court has become an effective deterrent for would-be perpetrators of grave crimes.

And to those who persist in suppressing their fellow citizens who cry out for dignity and freedom, we send a clear message: justice will be done. Impunity must become a relic of the past. We are also working to strengthen conflict prevention and mediation, and to uphold the responsibility to protect.

Preventing genocide is a collective responsibility. Let us continue to work together to ensure a future forever free of genocide. This would be the most fitting way to remember those lost in Rwanda 18 years ago, and to honour the resilience of the survivors.