On 13th April 2018, Aegis Trust was honoured to receive the second edition of the Raphael Lemkin International Award in recognition of its outstanding contribution to fighting genocide and other mass atrocities, in particular by educating the young generation in Rwanda through its Education for Sustainable Peace in Rwanda programme, and commemorating and honouring the victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
The Raphael Lemkin International Award was presented to the Aegis Trust by the Minister of Foreign affairs of the Republic of Poland, the Honourable Jacek Czaputowicz.
The Award Ceremony was preceded by a seminar entitled “Preventing and Punishing Genocide. Judicial Legacy of International Tribunals. Role of Post-Conflict Reconstruction And Peace Education”. The panellists included judges of international tribunals Mr Vagn Joensen, Judge of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals and former President of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and Ms Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart, Judge of the UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials and Judge of the UN Dispute Tribunal, together with Mr Freddy Mutanguha, Aegis Africa Representative.
The invited guests including Rwanda Government officials, dignitaries and judges of international tribunals heard a special video message from Mr Adama Dieng, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide who applauded the work of Raphael Lemkin, his legacy and the efforts of the Aegis Trust in preventing genocide and other mass atrocities.
Hon. Jacek Czaputowicz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, commended the great contribution of the Aegis Trust in preventing genocide and promoting peace to young Rwandans through Peace Education.
“Using the powerful tool of education, the Aegis Trust has been helping victims, documenting crimes, highlighting threats and making people more sensitive – wherever human life is hostage to criminal ideology,” Czaputowicz said. “The commitment of the Aegis Trust’s courageous and passionate team bolsters our faith in humanity. It definitely merits recognition by the international community.” He added, “Poland hopes that granting the Lemkin Award to the organization will support these educational efforts based on peace values.”
Hon. Olivier Nduhungirehe, State Minister of Foreign Affair, who represented the Government of Rwanda at the ceremony, recognised the efforts of the international community in fighting the ideology of denial and minimization of genocide. He stated that for this Day of Remembrance – Kwibuka24 – the United Nations, the African Union, the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, as well as many individual countries adopted “Genocide against the Tutsi” as official language,