About 40 cases of suspected genocide ideology across the country have been reported to the Rwanda National Police during the just-concluded national commemoration week of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The information was given yesterday by Police spokesperson Celestin Twahirwa in an interview with The New Times.
Twahirwa said the cases include spoken words by known individuals who are believed to have intended to hurt genocide survivors or undermine and deny the Genocide against Tutsi, while other cases are about written tracts distributed by unknown people.
There is also a rare case where an unknown person in Musanze District in the Northern Province donated an invalid coin that used to be legal tender during Grégoire Kayibanda’s regime.
Kayibanda was one of the well known initiators and promoters of genocide ideology against Tutsi.
“The reported cases show us that we still have a long way to go in fighting against genocide ideology,” Twahirwa said.
Under Rwandan laws, genocide ideology is a crime that is defined as an aggregate of thoughts manifested by conduct, speeches, documents and other acts aiming at exterminating or inciting others to exterminate people based on their ethnic group, origin, nationality, region, colour, physical appearance, sex, language, religion or political opinion.
The burden of ideology
Whether it’s in ‘normal’ periods or during war, the crime of Genocide ideology can be committed through marginalising, laughing at one’s misfortune, defaming, mocking, boasting, despising, degrading, creating confusion aiming at negating the genocide, stirring up ill feelings, taking revenge, altering testimony or evidence for the Genocide which occurred, killing, planning to kill or attempting to kill someone for purposes of furthering the ideology.
Among the 40 cases of suspected genocide ideology across the country that have been reported include that of Théodosie Uwayezu, the executive secretary of Gitesi Sector in Western Province’s Karongi District, who was handed to prosecution over remarks trivialising the Genocide against the Tutsi.
There is also one case of a local leader at the cell level in Kigali City’s Nyarugenge District who was arrested by Police after allegedly saying that remembering the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was a waste of time.
The cases also include a 73-year-old woman in Eastern Province’s Rwamagana District who told fellow residents that the mourning week is a party for Tutsi.
In another case, a 34-year-old man in Western Province was reported to Police after he allegedly asked whether there were actually Tutsi who were killed in 1994.
Twahirwa said all the reported cases of genocide ideology will be thoroughly investigated and suspects with strong evidence about the charges will be handed to prosecution so that they are tried in the country’s courts.
Cases of Genocide ideology tend to occur in April during the commemoration and figures have varied in the last three years, with 180 cases reported in 2013, 138 in 2014 while 168 cases had been reported to police by July 2015.