The subject of Somali/Spanish producer Hayat Traspas’ Victims of Impunity, directed by Jon Cuesta and showing in Docs for Sale, is one that she maintains has been kept conveniently hidden for the past two decades.
“Everybody knows about the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. What people don’t know is that afterwards 2 million Hutus had to flee to the neighbouring country the Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire.” The Tutsi army then decided to invade eastern Congo, her film suggests, to persecute and exterminate them, causing another genocide documented by official reports but suppressed to this day.
“Many people from these [Hutu] communities later received recognition as refugees in European countries [such as] Belgium, but while living in these European countries they are still living in fear of going back to their original country,” says Traspas. “And some need to tell their stories because history is always been written by the people who have won.”
“What this film intends to do is to put the story back on the table,” she continues. “Yes, there was a genocide against the Tutsis but there was also genocide against the Hutus backed by the government in power today.”
Traspas further maintains that suppression of information continues with the collusion of Western governments, “not only in the US but also European countries that do not want to uncover what is being done because there are many interests between the different nations and the government of [current Rwandan president] Paul Kagame.”
“There is a lot of footage from the time and testimonies of people who were there who can verify… We tried to be as objective as we were able,” Traspas continues. “It’s a way of giving comfort to victims and acknowledgement of their loss. What we expect from IDFA is to be able to generate interest in this documentary and to be able to get it shown in human rights festivals so people can learn and develop their own opinions. We want it to be educational and a little bit controversial because we want people to be openly talking about [this subject].”