Genocide is a process that develops in eight stages that are predictable but not inexorable. As Gregory H. Stanton, the President of Genocide Watch puts it, the eight stages are: Classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination and denial. But all stages continue to operate throughout the process.
The eighth stage which is denial is the stage that always follows any genocide and it is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims.
In the context of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda, all the stages were carefully planned and executed under the watch of the international community and the international organisations (usually refer to themselves as advocates for human rights).
After the genocide, the government of Rwanda sought to find what could prevent the re-occurrence of the genocide and one of the measures was to eradicate the culture of impunity which is one of the causes of the 1994 Genocide.
To eradicate the culture of impunity that led to genocide, laws were put in place including the organic law for punishing genocidaires and the law fighting genocide ideology. Other mechanisms put in place include justice sector reform and Gacaca courts which have registered success recognized on local and international arena.
Genocide perpetrators and their sympathizers both Rwandans and foreigners have never been happy with all the measures put in place by the government of Rwanda and have always denied the occurrence of the 1994 Genocide.
In denying the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, they are after two things: evading justice and hoping to re-commit genocide and reach their goal of complete extermination of the Tutsi.
In this denial stage of genocide, genocidaires and their sympathizers are evoking the issue of double genocide such that they could shift the crime to the victims and survivours (this is the reason for the compilation of the recent UN leaked report alleging that the Rwandan forces committed genocide in DRC).
They also try to politicize the measures put in place by the Government of Rwanda in a bid to punish the crime of genocide and prevent future genocide, with the aim of giving platform to the genocidaires to deny the occurrence of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and prepare another one without any legal hindrances.
It is in this regard that Amnesty International (AI) has come public attacking the law punishing genocide ideology. In the report, AI alleges that the vague wording of the laws is deliberately exploited to violate human rights.
According to the international human rights body, in the run-up to the 2010 elections, legitimate political dissent was conflated with “genocide ideology”, compromising the freedom of expression and association of opposition politicians, human rights defenders and journalists critical of the government.
The cumulative result of these laws is to deter people from exercising their right to freedom of expression.
The report goes further to criticize the definition of genocide ideology as provided by the law.
AI requests the government of Rwanda to review the law to allow what it calls freedom of speech and political space.
The move by AI international has not come as a surprise but follows a series of other events where it has been in support of the genocidaires and their sympathizers. This time it is supporting them in the process of the eighth stage of genocide and probably will give them a cover up in the preparation of another genocide.
This is not being pessimistic but realities show that AI kept quite when Rwandan genocidaires were busy preparing for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and later became their advocate when the genocidal regime fled to the neighbouring Zaire (now DRC). Now, it is becoming a partner in the denial phase.
When AI was conducting their research, they interviewed government officials whose application of the law falls in their ambit, prisoners convicted of genocide ideology, opposition politicians and families of those prisoners.
What is very surprising is that the report disregarded the explanation of the officials and only published what they say was told to them by the prisoners and their family members.
For those who read the report, they will agree with me that the report is full of the preconceived information the AI members had before they came to Rwanda.
It would have been better if they had compiled the report before they left for Rwanda without wasting their time and resources in the comedic research.
In the report, the AI members say that they visited Mpanga prison in Nyanza and Kigali Central prison. Fine, if they did visit them what were they told? They say that they were authorized to conduct a small number of interviews with prisoners convicted of “genocide ideology” and detainees accused of “genocide ideology”, but only in the presence of prison staff, making the interviews of limited use.
If the AI interviews were of limited use, then where did they get what they wrote in their report? Of course the report was written before their ceremonial and dollar wasting visit.
It is quite absurd that AI attacks even the definition of genocide ideology and every provision without consulting the drafting authorities. In drafting the law, the drafting team took into consideration the history of the country and specifically the circumstances that led to the occurrence of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Rwanda’s history and situation are unique and therefore, their solutions should also be unique.
The law punishing genocide ideology respects general and universal principles of law but of course takes into account the uniqueness of the Rwandan history and situation.
Uniqueness of laws depending on the circumstances is normal and is practiced by all the states as longer as they respect the general principles of law. However, it becomes a problem only when applied by an African country.
Foreign countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Switzerland) with similar laws have never met any criticism from the Amnesty International. Perhaps there should be strict laws for the developed countries only and weak ones for African countries in the name of political space and freedom of speech.
For the AI, it becomes a problem when the so called “opposition politicians” like Ingabire Victoire and Bernard Ntaganda are charged by the law. Then it becomes catastrophic when any journalist is accused of genocide ideology under the law. Did the same AI question the government of France when Le Pen was charged with inciting racial hatred in 2003 “Le Monde Interview”?
But it becomes a problem when the Rwandan prosecution apprehends Bernard Ntaganda and investigates Ingabire Victoire for their speeches spreading genocide ideology, simply because it is done by a poor African country, which for AI should have no rights to manage its affairs.
Rwandans know what is best for them, and the detractors including AI which continue to support the genocidal tendencies should know that they are not our God (Sibomana).
Genocide was started by propaganda similar to those used by those so called “opposition politicians” and the people of Rwanda and the government in particular (with obligation to protect its citizens) will not sit to see them calling for another genocide in the name of political space and freedom of speech.
Surprisingly, the attacks on the law came at a time the law was being amended. Rwanda like any country has a culture of amending its laws every time it is deemed that there are some provisions that are out dated.
“Our internal assessment showed there was a problem somewhere … so we decided as a country that we would review it,” Minister of Justice Karugarama says. “But then external forces, who like to think they own sometimes the initiative, took advantage of our own internal debates and started mounting pressure. We are trying to amend this law, but we must investigate and see where the fault is.” In fact AI was asked to give its comments to be considered but could not cooperate for reasons known to them.
The timing of this report days before the inauguration of President Kagame should not be taken as a coincidence. This was a continuation of a smearing campaign by detractors of Rwanda among which is Amnesty International who aim at tarnishing the image of the Government of Rwanda and in particular of President Kagame.
The achievements realized by the Government of Rwanda under the able leadership of President Kagame remain the main target of this malicious propaganda by the enemies of Rwanda especially the Amnesty International, which has always never liked seeing Rwanda prosper.
They have never wished a stable Rwanda, the reason why they are joining hands with the genocidaires to deny the 1994 Genocide and perhaps prepare for another genocide.