The recent announcement that a law to punish Genocide denial is in the making qualifies to be one of Rwanda’s legislative highlights for 2010.
Scholars worldwide refer to denial as the final stage in the process of carrying out and covering up a Genocide. The perpetrators destroy or hide relevant official evidence, burn bodies, leave unmarked graves, or invent rationale for the mass murder.
For the last 15 years, we have witnessed the denial of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi take many forms. The methods have ranged from violent attacks to open deceit.
Some have gone to the extent of claiming that no Genocide took place in Rwanda, referring to the atrocity as a “rebellion” or “civil war.”
It has been happening and people have gotten away with it, because there is no clear law targeting the offenders.
Considering that a number of deniers are based abroad, the legislators should consider drafting a law that addresses offences of denial committed outside the borders of Rwanda.
Revisionists may not live in Rwanda but their actions greatly affect Rwandans. Therefore, the arm of the law should be able to reach wherever they are.
Once the new law is in place, there is no doubt that the loopholes that the revisionists have exploited will now be removed and the long arm of the law will catch up with them.