New penal code to sanction institutions for genocide crime

Visitors look at some pictures of victims of Genocide archived at Kigali Genocide Memorial. File.

Any company or institution that by any means supports the crime of genocide and the crime against humanity will face immediate dissolution, the new Penal Code states.

This is the first time the law has explicitly included institutions and prescribed their fate regarding crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity.


Article 104 of the penal code states that private entities with legal personality companies, cooperatives, private entities with legal personality which, by any means, support the crime of genocide and the crime against humanity are liable to the penalty of dissolution or that of being subject to revocation of their authorisation to carry out their activities in the country.


Speaking to The New Times, Tom Ndahiro, a genocide scholar said that this was a step in the right direction, urging lawmakers to be more particular about what happens after an institution found liable of such crimes is dissolved.


“I am happy to hear that. You cannot target individuals involved in such crimes and forget the institutions because that is where the money is. What we need to know now is what happens to the people who owned these companies after they are dissolved? We need the law to be clearer about that,” he said.

Ndahiro pointed out that the move is in line Article 4 of the 1965 international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination which calls for the disbanding of organisations involved in such crimes.

The Chairperson of the Rwanda Civil Society Platform, Jean Leonard Sekanyange, welcomed the provision, saying that it would discourage those who sought to hide behind institutions to propagate hatred.

“These are well thought of articles. It is possible to hide behind a company and preach hatred in any form. This is good news because now all institutions know that the law is ready to intervene should they have such plans,” he said.

Besides institutions, the Penal Code also touched on the involvement of a superior and a subordinate in the crime of genocide and the crime against humanity.

Article 105 states that the fact that the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed by a subordinate does not relieve their superior of criminal liability if he or she knew or had reason to know that the subordinate was about to commit such crimes or had done so but had failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent or to punish the offender and inform relevant authorities.

“The fact that the accused committed a crime in the execution of an order of a government or a superior does not relieve the accused of criminal liability if it was evident that the execution of the order would result in the commission of any of the offences,” it says.

The Penal Code, which came into force on September 30, is made up of 335 articles.


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