Rwanda detains 40 for Genocide denial


A young girl visiting one of the Genocide victims cemetery

KIGALI- Authorities in Rwanda are investigating at least 36 cases related to Genocide denial; the 40 suspects in these cases are in police custody pending investigations.

The incidents are said to have happened during the just concluded 21st commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Police say, local leaders are among the suspects; one notable case involves Gaspard Mugiraneza, the cell head of Nyagasozi, Bumbogo sector in Gasabo district who was arrested on April 12, for allegedly uttering statements promoting the Genocide Ideology.

The local official allegedly questioned the essence of the genocide commemoration.

According to Rwanda Police, the cases mostly include assault (physically and verbally) on grieving Genocide survivors, or vandalizing and destroying their property.

The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Dr Jean Damascène Bizimana, says the battle against genocide ideology will not stop and urged Rwandans to fight it in all its manifestations.

In Rwanda, Genocide ideology is punishable under the law No. 84/2013 of 11/09/2013 and according to the law, Genocide ideology is a deliberate act, committed in public, whether orally, written or video or by any other means which may depict ethnic, religious, or racial bias with the aim of advocating for the commission of Genocide or supporting Genocide.

The law stipulates Genocide ideology-related offences include incitement to commit Genocide, negation of Genocide, trivializing genocide by downplaying its gravity or consequences, justifying Genocide, and concealment or destruction of evidence of Genocide or other crimes against humanity.

Genocide ideology-related offences also include theft or destruction of remains of victims of the Genocide, desecration or demolishing memorial sites for the victims of the Genocide, and violence against Genocide survivors.

The penal code states that any person who commits the crime of genocide ideology and other related offences shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of between five and nine years and a fine of between Rwf100,000 and Rwf1,000,000, or both.

Critics of the Genocide Ideology law argue it’s purposely meant to stifle free speech and dissent.

During last year’s commemoration 49 cases of Genocide ideology were registered in the Central African nation that lost nearly a million people, majority Tutsi, in the 1994 massacres.