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Ohio Northern University to discuss 20th anniversary of genocide in Rwanda

Apr 8, 2014

Ohio Northern University’s Center for Democratic Governance and Rule of Law explores the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda with events on Thursday, April 10, and Friday, April 11.

A screening of the movie “Hotel Rwanda” will be held on Thursday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in the Dicke Forum. The movie follows one man’s experience saving his family and others during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. After the movie, there will be a question-and-answer session with two people present during the genocide and its aftermath: Jean-Marie Kamatali, ONU assistant professor of law, and Kofi Nsia-Pepra, ONU assistant professor of political science.

After the 1994 Rwanda genocide, Kamatali was appointed dean of the only law school in Rwanda at that time. In this position, he oversaw the rebuilding of the legal education in Rwanda and was involved in the institutional and legal reform of the post-genocide Rwanda, including Gacaca system, constitutional and legal reform, as well as national reconciliation. At ONU, Kamatali teaches International Human Rights Law, Legal Issues in Transitional Democracies, and International Comparative NGO Law.

Prior to his academic career, Nsia-Pepra served in the Ghanaian military and as a peacekeeper for the United Nations in Rwanda and Sierra Leone. He is a leading researcher and expert in the concept of “robust peacekeeping” and teaches in the areas of international relations, comparative politics, human rights and conflict resolution.

A panel discussion, “The Rwandan Genocide: 20 years of Hindsight,” will be held in the Celebrezze Moot Court Room on Friday, April 11, at 1:30 p.m. The four-member panel will reflect on the events of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the social, political and legal lessons learned. Featuring David Rawson, former U.S. ambassador to Republic of Rwanda, the panel also includes Kamatali, along with Brian Anderson, ONU reference librarian and assistant professor, and David Pimentel, director of the Center for Democratic Governance and Rule of Law and visiting associate professor of law at ONU.

Rawson is a professor of political economy at Spring Arbor University. He served as United States ambassador to the Republic of Mali from 1996 to 1999, and to the Republic of Rwanda from 1993 to 1996. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1971, serving in Rwanda, Mali, Senegal, Madagascar, and Somalia as well as various postings in the United States. His current research explores the Rwandan case in international humanitarian intervention. He has been chair of the UN Advisory Group on the West African arms moratorium and consultant to the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa.

Before commencing his academic career in 2007, Pimentel headed the Rule of Law efforts in South Sudan for the United Nations Mission in Sudan. He spent four years as the chief of court management at the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he collaborated closely with his counterparts at the ICTY’s “sister” court, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Before commencing his academic career in 2011, Anderson served as a legal adviser to the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Rwanda. In that capacity, he also assisted with the MCC Rwanda Justice Strengthening Project on legal education reform in Rwanda, and overall justice sector support. Anderson’s research is in the area of creating legal information systems in developing states to promote democracy.