June 15, 2020

2,300 People Prosecuted for Genocide Ideology in Five years – RIB

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This suspect Rukundo Assouman was rearrested again in April 2019 after he confronted a genocide survivor saying: “I’ll kill you so that you follow your relatives”. He was found guilty in 2016 over similar actions, was released under presidential pardon in September 2018 together with 2,139 others

The Rwanda Investigations Bureau (RIB) has said the number of people prosecuted for denying the 1994 against the Tutsi is steadily dropping over the years as the population becomes more enlightened.

RIB Secretary General Colonel Jeannot Ruhunga said for past five years, some 2,300 files have been submitted to the Prosecutor General for eventual onward appearance in the courts.

As per the special law enacted in 2018, genocide ideology is depicted in various forms. It comes out in the form of denial of the genocide, minimization of the genocide, and justification of genocide.

There is also causing disappearance or degradation of evidence of the genocide, as well as stealing or destroying the bodies of victims of genocide and demolishing, damaging, or desecrating a memorial site.

Another crime that is stipulated in the law is violence against a survivor of genocide. This particular one is commonly seen, as property of survivors is damaged, abuses hurled at them, or hurtful language said to them.

For the different above crimes, suspects face up to between two years in jails to 15years, with fines of up to Rwf 2m.

Acts of genocide ideology mostly occur in the period leading up to the commemoration in April, and some time after. Figures from RIB show that there was a 39% drop in genocide ideology cases during the 2019 commemoration period, from 114 people arrested the previous year.

“We are a seeing a downward trend in genocide ideology cases, indication that the Rwandan population is increasingly becoming enlightened about its negative impact on society,” said Ruhunga in local media interviews this weekend.

However, government still faces the challenge of people negating the genocide who are outside the country. These voices have recently been reinforced by the US and UK recent release of their positions on a UN General Assembly resolution on the appellation of the genocide.

Parliament last year asked the executive to appoint an “ambassador at-large against genocide”, which is yet to be done.

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