witness jj

 

Q: Do you remember the first time you heard about the film?

A: I remember very well. In August 2013, Michele came to Kigali. We shared a drink, ate a great meal, we laughed. I was happy that someone came to visit us, someone who was interested in the ICTR’s rape cases and who had been touched so much by the fate of Rwandan women.

 

Q: Were you surprised someone wanted to make a film about your story?

A: Yes, it was surprising, but I thought it would be good to participate because this movie would be useful to the country and to the world as a tool to campaign against rape. I felt there was a solid basis to what I had to say, and that it could support the cause of justice. I thought that this film would amplify the voices of the women involved.

 

Q: Why did you participate in the film?

A: I decided to participate because I thought this movie would educate people about the facts that had occurred and demonstrate to them our value as role models in a way that a book could not. If people only read about it in a book, they might take it as a novel, just a story. The movie will travel. It will be seen by many audiences in many places.

 

Q: Does your family or your friends know about your role in the Akayesu case?

A: I told my family and friends about it when I testified. They said that I should be afraid, that I was going to be killed. I told them that they were wrong because I was going to give testimony of truth. And, you only die on the day that God has planned for you.

 

Q: Why did you decide to participate in the film?

A: I thought the film would educate people about the facts that had occurred, in a direct way that clearly conveys the truth, and demonstrate to them our value as role models, in a way that a book could not do. If people only read about it in a book, they might take it as a novel, a work of fiction. And, the movie will travel, and be seen by audiences in many places.

 

Q: What do you hope audiences will learn from the film?

A: The audience will learn just how horrific violence against women can be, and why it must be eradicated. They can come away from the film with strategies to fight against it. Women need to know their true worth.

 

Q: What did you think of the film?

A: This film is important, and people need to value it. Women who have been witnesses like us stand to benefit from it.

 

Q: What did you think of yourself in the film?

A: It made me think about my courage, my bravery, my valor and my dignity in having contributed to justice, to the law, and to the fight against impunity. I participated in the struggle to end crimes against humanity.

 

Q: You brought one of your daughters to the screening in Kigali. What did she think of seeing you in the film?

A: My daughter told me: “Mom, you are so strong, you overcame fear. I would not have dared to do what you did. Few people would be capable of doing such a thing.”