Page last updated at 20:22 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

Rwanda politician prompts row over genocide memorial

Skulls of victims at the Genocide Memorial Site church of Ntarama, Rwanda
Some 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda's genocide

A row has erupted in Rwanda about the genocide memorial not reflecting the plight of Hutus in the 1994 massacres.

During the 100-day genocide, Hutu militias systematically killed about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

But opposition politician Victoire Ingabire, who has returned to Rwanda for the first time since the genocide, says Hutus were also killed by Tutsis.

Genocide survivors group Ibuka says her comments amount to "genocide negation" and she should be prosecuted.

Theodore Simburudari, the head of Ibuka, told the BBC the opposition United Democratic Forces leader should also be tried for "fuelling ethnic hatred".

Victoire Ingabire (Photo from UDF website:
People who were massacred in this country cannot simply be forgotten
UDF leader Victoire Ingabire

The BBC's Geoffrey Mutagoma in the capital, Kigali, says Ms Ingabire made the comments during her visit to the Kigali genocide memorial on Saturday.

Following the furore sparked by her remarks, Ms Ingabire told the BBC's Great Lakes Service she was not attempting to belittle the genocide.

"Clearly, reconciliation has a long way to go," she said in an interview conducted in Kinyarwandan.

"People who were massacred in this country cannot simply be forgotten," she said.

"Looking at this memorial, it only stops at the genocide committed to Tutsis; there is still another role that concerns the massacres committed to Hutus.

"Their relatives were also killed and they are asking themselves: 'When will our concerns be discussed?'"

Judicial authorities have so far not commented on the request by the genocide survivors.

But the BBC reporter says considering the sensitivity of the subject, constitutional statutes and other laws regarding the genocide, Ms Ingabire is undoubtedly courting controversy as she moves to register her party to run for the 2010 presidential elections.

Ms Ingabire left Rwanda before the genocide began and has spent the last 16 years in Europe.

The elections due in August will be the second presidential polls held since the genocide.

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