This year marks Rwanda’s 22nd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. This is a time to reflect on the past and renew the commitment to a united Rwanda, one that is free of the genocide ideology which in the past was responsible for the massacre of approximately one million Rwandans.
Firstly, it is important to note that it is illegal to kill any human being because according to Article 12 of the Rwandan constitution, “Every person has the right to life. No person shall be subjectively deprived of life.” This right applies to all, despite of their age, colour, sex, ethnicity or physical appearance.
However, in the event that a person still harbours the Genocide ideology, law no 84/2013 of 11/09/2013 was drafted and passed to deal with the Genocide ideology and other related offences.
So what exactly is Genocide ideology? According to article 3 of law no 84/2013 of 11/09/2013 on the crime of Genocide ideology and other related offences, genocide ideology is any deliberate act committed in public whether orally, written or video means or by any other means which may show that a person is characterized by ethnic, religious, nationality or racial-bias with the aim to: advocate for the commission of Genocide or to support the Genocide.
According to Article 12, paragraph two of law n° 84/2013 of 11/09/2013 on the crime of Genocide ideology and other related offences, any person who commits any of the acts provided for in Articles 3,4,7,8 and 11 of the aforementioned law shall be liable to penalties that are provided for in Article 135 of the Organic Law Instituting the Penal Code.
Article 135 of the Penal Code inevitably talks about the punishment of the crime of genocide ideology and other related offences.
It states: “Any person who commits the crime of Genocide ideology and other related offences shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of more than five (5) years to nine (9) years and a fine of one hundred thousand (100,000) to one million (1,000, 000) Rwandan francs.”
Therefore, it is important to desist from ethnically biased statements and actions. Not only because it is criminal but because all human beings are equal and also because Rwanda’s motto is: unity, work and patriotism. Those three aspects go hand in hand.