(BRUSSELS, June 2, 2020) Rwandan foreign affairs Minister confirmed on Tuesday that Belgium has decided to recall two diplomats, the first secretary and the military attaché.
The Rwandan government accused them of holding a ceremony to remember commemorating the 10 Belgian peacekeepers who were killed in April 1994 a day before official mourning started and without informing local authorities.
In a statement, Kigali said the diplomats organized the event on April 6, the day that the plane of President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down over the capital, Kigali, sparking the genocide that killed more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsi, and Hutu who tried to protect them.
“Some of the key symbols used 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,” the foreign affairs ministry said.
Timing of commemorations is highly sensitive for Rwanda’s government as some genocide perpetrators or supporters allege that a separate genocide against the Hutu began the day the plane was shot down.
The official commemoration period started on April 7.
A spokesperson to the Belgian Ministry of foreign affairs refused to comment.