Genocide ideology cases dropped in 2020

The number of genocide ideology and related crimes fell to 171 during the commemoration period, from more than 200 in the same period last year, according to preliminary data from the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC).

Despite the sizable drop, the Commission said genocide ideology remains a serious issue pressing against the unity of Rwandans.


Those crimes were committed, mainly, through negationist speech, texts and destroying of properties belonging to genocide survivors.


Due to Covid-19, Rwanda commemorated more than a million victims of the genocide against the Tutsi in the confines of their homes. However, the commission noted that lockdown and isolation measures did not have a significant influence on the manifestation of genocide ideology.


“People manifest what is already inside them. The lockdown could not have amplified the prevalence of the genocide ideology cases,” said Bishop John Rucyahana, Chairperson of the commission.

He added that, instead, people used digital technologies such as phones, to let out what was already grounded in their thoughts.

NURC said that over 80 per cent of the cases were identified among adults aged 30 and beyond. The small portion of youth is a victim of ideology and trauma transmission from older family members.

A new form of genocide negationism

Speaking to the press on Friday, Fidele Ndayisaba, NURC’s Executive Secretary emphasized that the crimes are a manifestation of a new form of the 1994 genocide negationism.

The negationists, he said, “have now seen that it is impossible to deny the genocide against Tutsi because there are irrefutable facts. Their new weapon is saying that there were two genocides in Rwanda.”

Those who claim of a second genocide refer to “the Hutu and other people” who were killed because they refused to deny the fact that they are all Rwandans. According to NURC, “they [the Hutu] were not targeted for who they were,” unlike the Tutsi.

While the data showed domestic prevalence, Ndayisaba said that another, the bigger territory of genocide deniers consists of foreigners and Rwandans who live abroad.

He classified them into two groups. The first includes those with a guilty conscience because they deserted, disappointed and failed Rwandans during the genocide, as well as the children who try to defend their genocidaire parents.

Another group, he said, is of propagandists who want to use the genocide for their own agenda of destabilizing the peace of Rwanda and distort its healing process.

“Fighting against genocide ideology cannot be an automatic event. It is about eradicating something that has grown deep roots for many years. It will take many years,” observed Bishop Rucyahana.

NURC encouraged Rwandans to keep on the endeavor of fighting the genocide ideology and related crimes wherever they are, and not being “diverted by those who wish to distract them” hiding behind what they call “commemorating all.”

Genocide ideology and related crimes, as well as the act of concealing them, are, according to the law, classified as heavy crimes that carry along heavy punishments.

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