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Political radicals in the Rwandan Diaspora, genocide deniers, and some human rights organizations argue that Rwanda’s laws prohibiting genocide denial and genocide ideology violate freedom of speech and constitute media censorship and political suppression. This paper discusses challenges faced by Rwanda in preserving an accurate history of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi while countering genocide denial and genocide ideology in a context that supports freedom of expression. Keywords Rwanda, post-genocide recovery, human rights, holocaust laws, double standards.
Rwanda faces critical challenges to preserving national unity and ensuring an accurate history of the 1994 genocide by countering the forces of genocide denial and genocide ideology threatening the reoccurrence of mass atrocities. Politically radicalized groups in the Rwandan Diaspora are actively campaigning to deny the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and are promoting genocide ideology from the haven of Western countries where they sought exile and which safeguard free speech.
Facing the continuing threat of genocide, as manifested in the ideology and actions of those who vowed to ‘finish the job’ begun in 1994, Rwanda promulgated laws prohibiting genocide ideology; denying, negating, minimizing, justifying or approving of genocide; and 1 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013, Volume 1 Number 2
prohibiting discrimination and sectarianism. Genocide deniers and some human rights organizations argue that Rwanda’s laws to resist genocide denial and to combat genocide ideology violate freedom of speech and amount to media censorship and political suppression.
This article analyzes the challenges that Rwanda faces in preserving an accurate history of the genocide, countering genocide denial and genocide ideology in a context that supports freedom of expression and other human rights. The article describes the political background of Rwanda and the mass media hate messages that provided the context for the genocidal ideology. It examines the arguments and techniques of the genocide deniers in their attempt to manipulate the Western media, human rights organizations, policymakers and opinion leaders. The article also compares Rwanda’s law constraining genocide denial with laws elsewhere that prohibit Holocaust and genocide denial. The article concludes with an argument that the Rwandan laws are necessary for post-genocide recovery and that these laws comport well with the emerging doctrine of the international responsibility to protect vulnerable populations from human rights abuses.
Rwanda Political Background
The Republic of Rwanda is a landlocked country in east central Africa with a population of 11 million comprised of Hutu, Tutsi and Twa ethnic groups. Known as “the land of a thousand hills” and habitat for the famous silverback gorillas, this once idyllic country is now infamous for the genocide that occurred in 1994, when government soldiers, militias, and ordinary civilians went on a 100-day rampage to exterminate the Tutsi ethnic group. 2 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013, Volume 1 Number 2
Rwanda was a complex and advanced monarchy prior to and during colonial rule by Germany and Belgium.1 The monarch ruled the country through his official representatives drawn from the Tutsi nobility until 1956 when, voting on strictly ethnic lines, the Hutu obtained an overwhelming majority and realized their political strength. Around 1957, the first political parties formed and they were ethnically, rather than ideologically, based. There were four political parties, the Mouvement Démocratique Répubicain, Parmehutu ("MDR Parmehutu"), which clearly defined itself as the Hutu grassroots movement; the Union Nationale Rwandaise ("UNAR"), the party of Tutsi monarchists; and, between the two extremes, Aprosoma, predominantly Hutu, and the Rassemblement démocratique rwandais ("RADER"), which brought together moderates from the Tutsi and Hutu elite.
Political unrest broke out in November 1959, the first victims of which were the Hutu. In reprisal, the Hutu burned and looted Tutsi houses. This was the start of a cycle of violence that resulted in the establishment on 18 October 1960, by the Belgian authorities, of an autonomous provisional government headed by Grégoire Kayibanda, President of MDR Parmehutu (the
The historical and socio-cultural background information about Rwanda is taken from The Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu, Case No. ICTR-96-4-T, paragraphs 78-129. This was the first decision rendered by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The decision, as with all others of the ITCR, uses this official account of the history and context of the country in statements and legal decisions about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The ICTR was established on November 8, 1994 by Security Council Resolution 955. The ICTR is a temporary (ad hoc) tribunal with the mandate to prosecute those who have the greatest responsibility for planning and carrying out the genocide in Rwanda. The ICTR indicted 93 people. Eighty-three have been arrested. Seventy-five people have been judged with 12 acquitted and 63 convicted and sentenced to prison. December 2014 is the deadline for the ICTR to close.
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Hutu). After the Tutsi monarch fled abroad, the Hutu opposition declared the Republic of Gitarama, on 28 January 1961, and set up a legislative assembly. On 6 February 1961, Belgium granted self-government to Rwanda. Independence was declared on 1 July 1962, with Grégoire Kayibanda named as President of the First Republic. General Juvénal Habyarimana, Army Chief of Staff, seized power through a coup on July 5, 1973. In 1975, President Habyarimana instituted the one-party system with the creation of the Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le Développement (MRND). “There was therefore a single centralized organization, both for the State and the party, which stretched from the Head of State down to basic units known as cellules, with even smaller local organs, each comprising ten households, below the cellules. The cellules and local organs were, indeed, more of party organs, than administrative units (ICTR-99-52-T, Judgment and Sentence, para. 106).
Periodic attacks against the Tutsi continued under the Habyarimana regime. These successive waves of violence and expulsion created sizeable communities of Tutsi refugees in the neighboring countries of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), Tanzania, and Uganda, where they fled into exile to avoid being killed. In the 1980s, Tutsi exiles, particularly those living in Uganda, organized themselves to launch incursions into Rwanda. They also formed a political organization, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), with a military wing called the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). The first objective of the exiles was to return to Rwanda, but the Rwandan authorities and President Habyarimana objected to their return, allegedly saying that land in Rwanda would not be sufficient to feed all those who wanted to return.
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On October 1, 1990, the RPF launched an attack from Uganda, which provided a pretext for the Habyarimana regime to arrest thousands of opposition members in Rwanda considered to be supporters of the RPF. The RPF attacks continued and, in retaliation, the military and paramilitary death squads killed Rwanda-residing Tutsi politicians and civilians. Faced with a worsening internal situation that attracted a growing number of Rwandans to the multi-party system and under pressure by foreign donors who demanded not only economic, but also political reforms, President Habyarimana was compelled to accept the multiparty system in principle. On December 28, 1990, the preliminary draft of a political charter to establish a multi-party system was published. On June 10, 1991, the new constitution introducing the multi-party system was adopted, followed on June 18 by promulgation of the law on political parties and the formation of the first parties, the Mouvement Démocratique Républicain (MDR), the Parti Social Démocrate (PSD), the Parti Liberal (PL), and the Parti Démocrate Chrétien (PDC).
In March 1992, a group of Hutu hard-liners founded a new radical political party, Coalition for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), that was more extremist than Habyarimana himself and that opposed him on several occasions. To make the economic, social and political conflict resemble an ethnic conflict, Habyarimana’s entourage, and the army in particular, launched propaganda campaigns that often fabricated events supposedly perpetrated by RPF infiltrators. The Hutu population was goaded to defend itself against and the RPF and to attack and kill their Tutsi neighbors. The government-run Radio Rwanda and the private radio station RTLM played a major role in this anti-Tutsi propaganda. People close to President Habyarimana founded RTLM in 1993.) 5 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013, Volume 1 Number 2
Volume 1 Number 2 . the Government of Rwanda and the RPF signed the final Arusha Accords and ended the war that had started on October 1. anti-Tutsi propaganda on the media intensified. President Habyarimana and other heads of State of the region met in Dar-es-Salaam. the aircraft carrying President Habyarimana and the President Ntaryamirai of neighboring Burundi. The Accords provided for the establishment of a transitional government to include the RPF. International donors and neighboring countries pressured the Habyarimana government to implement the Arusha Accords. the transitional government was still not established and Rwanda was on the brink of bankruptcy. Hutu-led Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi paramilitary militias massacred Tutsi as well as Habyarimana's Hutu opponents.Negotiations between the RPF rebels and the Rwanda government led to the first ceasefire in July 1992 and the first part of the Arusha Accords. on August 4. 1993. At the end of March 1994. The protocols signed following these accords established a transitional government and a transitional assembly with the participation of the RPF in both institutions. 1994. 1990. In the days that followed. RTLM radio constantly stepped up its attacks that became increasingly targeted and violent. Amidst growing political schism and turmoil. Habyarimana and anti-Tutsi hardliners in his political party and cabinet refused to implement the power-sharing agreement and violence continued. was shot down near the Kigali airport. Tanzania to discuss implementing the peace accords. On the return journey to Rwanda on April 6. Meanwhile. On April 6. 1994. The leaders of the CDR and the PSD were assassinated in February 1994. The Rwandan army and the militia 6 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. killing all aboard.
" in keeping with the allegation that the Tutsi were “foreign” to Rwanda. a tributary of the Nile.000 people had been killed in the 100 days of organized genocide. in various parts of the country. continued nationwide until July 18. the Tutsi used their cunning to rule and dominate the majority Hutu. with the founding of political parties divided along ethnic lines. the Presidential Guard and the militia began killing the Tutsi as well as Hutu known to favor the Arusha Accords and power sharing between Tutsi and Hutu. led by Paul Kagame. Before dawn on April 7 1994. promoted identity based on ethnicity. The power relationship in Rwandan society continued until the independence movement. In time. The underlying intention of this act was to "send the Tutsi back to their place of origin. having originated from the Nilotic regions.immediately erected roadblocks around the capital city of Kigali. The Belgian colonizers introduced identity cards in Rwanda and. An estimated 900. 1994. Genocide Ideology Genocide ideology grew out of the myth created by European colonial rulers who ascribed superior intellect and physical beauty to the minority Tutsi population who they said came from Ethiopia to Rwanda where they found the indigenous Hutu cultivating the land." to "make them return to Abyssinia. The bodies of many Tutsi victims were systematically thrown into the Nyabarongo River. captured Kigali. The colonial system of indirectly ruling Rwanda through a Tutsi monarchy furthered this myth. According to the myth. with them. The ideology of Hutu power can 7 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. The killing of Tutsi. Volume 1 Number 2 . including women and children. when the RPF. the myth became the dominant historical narrative accepted by both major ethnic groups.
” found in Butare prefecture. Manuals. by Roger Mucchielli. p. ridicule. Volume 1 Number 2 . The post-colonial Rwandan State was always anti-Tutsi and promulgated an ideology of hate. and innuendo to attack the opponent in both his public and his private life. “Extremists who were ready to use slaughter to hold on to political power constructed an ideology of genocide from a faulty history that had long been accepted by both Hutu and Tutsi” (Des Forges. 1999). one propagandist tells others how to sway the public most effectively. historical publications and notes on domestic application of Nazi propaganda techniques were found in government offices in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide (Human Rights Watch. The author of the note claims to convey lessons learned from the book and drawn from Lenin and Goebbels. He advocates using lies. 1995. Members of the genocide regime recruited propagandist trained at university level to sway public opinion in the country. that history of violence and impunity coalesced into the genocide ideology of extermination. 8 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. 2 In a mimeographed document entitled “Note Relative à la Propagande d’Expansion et de Recrutement. exclusion and discrimination that sanctioned violence against the minority Tutsi population.2 Copies of films about Hitler and Nazism were found in Habyarimana’s residence after the family fled to France at the start of the genocide in April 1994 (Chretien. Obviously someone who had studied at university level. 45). discrimination and divisionism. exaggeration. Therefore. 257). p. published in Paris in 1970. With the founding of the political parties in the 1990s. For years President Habyarimana and officials around him had cultivated and used propaganda to manipulate and control the Rwandan population in order to maintain themselves in power. the first political party in Rwanda was one of exclusion.interpreted as a backlash against the historical dominance of the Tutsi under colonial rule. the author of the note presents a detailed analysis of a book called Psychologie de la publicité et de la propagande.
they should be thrown into the Rwandan tributaries of the Nile so that they could return to their original homelands. therefore after they had been killed. p.rwandagateway. vice-president of the MRND (Hutu) in Gisenyi Préfecture and a lecturer at the National University of Rwanda. Also in 1991. The propagandists argued that unless the Hutu killed all Tutsi. primarily the radio. Besides the radio stations. Mugesera called for exterminating the Tutsi and assassinating Hutu opposed to the President. 80. it repeats the charge that neo-Nazi Tutsi. During an MRND meeting in November 1992. Volume 1 Number 2 . He referenced the idea that the Tutsi allegedly came from Ethiopia and. In 1991. there were other propaganda agents. they would find themselves under minority rule again.). wrote a pamphlet in which he accused the Tutsi of planning to establish an empire in east-central Africa and also compared Tutsi to Nazis imperialists who saw themselves as a superior race.3 Part of the genocide ideology was based on the fear that the RPF would conquer the country and re-impose a Tutsi monarchy. http://www.php?article1340. Mugesera’s linking the plot for a Tutsi empire to the Nazis was picked up by Kangura several months later. nostalgic for power. 1999. one of the government’s genocide propagandists. In its September 1991 issue. He exhorted his listeners to avoid the error of earlier massacres during which some Tutsi. particularly children. 9 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013.” Rwanda Gateway Information Portal. This propaganda combined a 3 “Translated 1992 Speech of Leon Mugesera. Leon Mugesera. he published two pamphlets accusing the Tutsi of planning genocide of the Hutu. dream of “colonial expansion” (Human Rights Watch.org/spip.The psychological preparation of the population to exterminate the Tutsi was masterminded by politicians who misused the Rwandan news media. the most notorious of which was Léon Mugesera. had been spared.
identity. with an ideology of “Hutu power. 1995. the anthropologist and expert on Rwandan history. p. 46). Volume 1 Number 2 .and its ally. and thought out by Leon Mugesera. 2004). the CDR. Ferdinand Nahimana and Hassan Ngeze (Ungor. unless the Hutus struck first and eliminated all Tutsi.” This ideology essentially proclaimed that a world without Tutsis is a better world for Hutus (Staub. p. “Never has the media played such a crucial role in encouraging genocide as it did in Rwanda. Habyarimana and his MRND party used the Hutu power propaganda to “transform the ideology of hate into the ideology of genocide” after the attacks by the RPF (Des Forges. both print and radio. According to Alison Des Forges. depicting them as a grave threat to Hutus. all Hutu-dominated. to their property. were created for the sole purpose of furthering the genocide” (Kamatali. some Rwandan media. 794). She placed Leon Mugesera and his infamous “back to Ethiopia” speech at the center of this ideological transformation (Nyirubugara. Indeed.4 Hate Media Communications researchers and legal scholars have characterized the pre-genocide communication environment in Rwanda as an era of hate media. The propagandists and extremist politicians also tried to convince the population that the RPF would slaughter all Hutus.” Ungor specifically links Leon Mugesera’s propaganda activities and genocide ideology to Ferdinand Nahimana and Hassan Ngeze. 2004:p 345). 10 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013.profound devaluation of the Tutsis. 4 Nyirubugara challenges the argument of Des Forges and Ungor that “the Hutu Power ideology was developed by the then ruling party – MRND .347). 2003. and lives. He further compares Nahimana to Nazi ideologist Rosenberg and the Hutu Power ideology to its Nazi counterpart (p. leaders of the Rwandan hate media who were convicted by the ICTR in 2003.
Volume 1 Number 2 . It was at this point that the RTLM station went on its campaign of spreading genocide ideology.2002. The content of RTLM was at first like most western-style programming featuring popular music. 67). p. Ndadaye. The station called for ‘a final solution’ and urged the public to join in the fight against the RPF and to eliminate all Tutsi living in Rwanda. p. With the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye in neighboring Burundi in October 1993. was killed by officers from the mainly Tutsi army in Burundi that led to a cycle of revenge killings between Tutsi and Hutu in Burundi.5 Based in the capital city of Kigali. “RTLM programs changed and began inciting to ethnic hatred against Tutsi” (International Media Support [IMS]. Radio Rwanda. (1995). 5 For a complete listing of the genocide-era hate media. Most notorious among the Rwandan “hate media” were Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) and the Kangura newspaper. and that the RPF was a dangerous enemy poised to conquer Rwanda and dominate the Hutu majority. 11 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. 16). informal commentaries. interviews and talk-shows which invited listeners to call in to the station and give their comments. RTLM was able to reach the entire country using a network of transmitters owned and operated by the government station. 2003. a Hutu. RTLM denounced opposition party members and those who criticized the government as RPF accomplices and traitors. Rwanda: Les Medias du Genocide. It warned that the ethnic violence in Burundi would spill over into Rwanda. see Jean-Pierre Chretien.
lending the microphone to ordinary people in order to mobilize them for the last fight. p. 17). “The ten Hutu commandments were a true incitement to hatred. 486-487). 2003.000 and was printed free of charge at the national printing press. In December 1990. was convicted and imprisoned in Rwanda for her role in the genocide. 14). RTLM’s messages and slogans were supported by several extremist newspapers with Kangura on the front line” (IMS. 12 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Kangura had a circulation of about 10. p. the broadcasts called for listeners to kill Tutsi. The station incited the population to murder and other criminal acts in 1994 (ICTR-99-52-T. para. She admitted that she and other journalists used RTLM broadcasts to guide the military and paramilitary death squads to their enemies. p. and discrimination against Tutsi” (IMS. Judgment and Sentence. 2003. But the RTLM broadcasts went well beyond advocacy of hatred and genocide ideology. The Tenth Commandment required that “Hutu Ideology must be taught to Hutu of every age. 2008. Volume 1 Number 2 .“During the few months prior to the genocide. The genocide organizers used the media to spread their ideology of ethnic hatred. 95. 200-2001). the Tutsi (Mukagasana. In mid 1991. Every Hutu must spread the word wherever he goes. RTLM was on the frontline in broadcasting ethnic propaganda. Hutus were commanded not to associate with Tutsi because “all Tutsis are dishonest in business” and claimed that their only goal is “ethnic superiority”. Kangura published the “Ten Hutu Commandments” that embodied the ethnic hatred and propaganda of the pre-genocide media. On several occasions. an RTLM journalist. 2001. Among other things. Valerie Bemeriki. Any Hutu who persecutes his brother Hutu for spreading and teaching this ideology is a traitor” (Totten & Bartrop. p.
6 The Trial Chamber also reviewed the role of CDR.” See Bagasora et al. Prosecutor v. incitement to genocide. however. The media were used as instruments of propaganda. it was not the only reasonable conclusion from the evidence. p. It is generally agreed that the mass media played a central role in the Rwandan genocide. reversed the finding in Nahimana et al. 13 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. because of the media’s potential for combatting genocide ideology by re-educating the society (Gallimore. while the factual basis for the conviction was consistent with a joint agenda to commit genocide. 247-248). ICTR-9841-T. and Ngeze were sentenced to life imprisonment and Barayagwiza to 35 years imprisonment. who controlled and managed the RTLM radio station. and crimes against humanity. more importantly. and editor of the Kangura newspaper. 2003. Nahimana. 6 Ferdinand Nahimana was founder and ideologist of Radio Télévision des Mille Collines (RTLM). 2008. Paragraph 2089 reviewing the Tribunal’s case law on the issue of conspiracy. extermination and persecution.” the Tribunal established the principle that those who use the media to incite the public to commit genocide can be punished for their communication because it amounts to persecution as a crime against humanity. All were convicted on December 3. Hassan Ngeze. Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. the political party that the ICTR found to have spearheaded the Hutu Power movement and created a political framework for the genocide. conspiracy to commit genocide. Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza was a high-ranking board member of RTLM and founding member of the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR). the owner. conspiracy. and Hassan Ngeze. because. In the so-called “Media Case. ICTR-99-52-T. Hassan Ngeze was the chief editor of the Kangura newspaper. 7 “The Appeals Chamber.On December 3. founder. 2003 for genocide. Volume 1 Number 2 . incitement. Case No. Case No..7 The ICTR “Media Case” is of particular significance for Rwanda because of the centrality of the media in creating an environment of hate and suspicion that was necessary to carry out the genocide but. the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) convicted three Rwandans for having used the media to commit the crime of genocide by inciting the Rwandan population to commit murder. hatemongering. They were Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. Ferdinand Nahimana.
this is when the perpetrators cover up and destroy evidence. the dehumanization of its people. and the preparation for extermination. the process is not linear. Tutsi murder. with all stages operating throughout the process. 2001). Stanton cautioned that although genocide is a process that incorporates eight predictable stages. However. These include classification of the target group. The last and eighth stage in this process is denial. the United States tried to avoid moral and legal responsibility to intervene by refusing to use the word “genocide” to describe what was happening in plain sight of the entire world (Power. block investigation. if not rewarded. The media. It is worth noting that in the fifth stage (polarization) “hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda” (Stanton. proclaim innocence. minimize the number killed and justify the killing as self-defense. the crime of genocide has eight clearly defined stages. the greatest role that the media played in the genocide was to promulgate a pervasive genocide ideology that served as sanction for ordinary citizens to commit grave crimes against their neighbors. 1998). They also claim that the deaths of the perpetrating group exceed that of victimized group. 14 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. enabled and perpetuated the historical impunity in Rwandan society wherein the government sanctioned. especially radio. Denial of genocide in Rwanda began even while it was underway. Volume 1 Number 2 . Genocide Denial Campaign According to genocide scholar Gregory Stanton.surveillance and tactical operations for the mass killings.
S. and the United States government of covering up war crimes committed by the RPF and questioning whether there was genocide in Rwanda. Erlinder entered the country claiming that he was there to represent opposition politician. 2007. Since then.newtimes. former Australian investigator Michael Hourigan and American academic Christian Davenport. an American. denial was a collaborative international effort led by the United States” (Moshman.One researcher argues that denial is a psychological tool to “enable the perpetrators to maintain their moral self-conceptions” (Moshman. It was not until the genocide was nearly complete that the U. He defended Major Aloys Ntabakuze in the “Military I” trial.8 First and foremost among these deniers are the defense attorneys who participated in the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTR) (2003). 2007. 2011. 8 15 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. http://www. the most notorious non-Hutu denier has been Robin Philpot. In the case of Rwanda. who was a defense lawyer at the ICTR for one of the Genocide convicts. p.” New Times.php?i=14604&a=40468. former UNAMIR chief Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh. acknowledged that “acts of genocide” had taken place. p. especially Peter Erlinder. it was critical for the U. 115). Erlinder. “Denial is also important to bystanders as a basis for not intervening. 129). herself jailed on genocide denial “In Canada for example. In May 2010 he was arrested for genocide denial and spent three weeks in a Rwandan jail. Volume 1 Number 2 . government to maintain that what was happening in Rwanda was civil war and not genocide. Others deny the Genocide to cover up the role of some countries and organizations who were involved in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.rw/news/index. the United Nations.co. has also written articles accusing the ICTR. These include French Judge Bruguiere.” Michael Ngabo. Erlinder has attended conferences organized by dissident groups in Europe specifically to deny the genocide. Therefore. yet his only link to Rwanda is his brother John. April 23. Interestingly. “Deniers of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi on Rampage. each of these cites the others as their proof that the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi was nothing but an American imperial plot. Victoria Ingabire. there has been a steady campaign by multiple groups and individuals worldwide to deny the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda.S.
Erlinder was released on humanitarian grounds to seek mental health treatment after he allegedly tried to commit suicide in jail (Kron.”9 Their refusal to use the term “genocide of the Tutsi” opposed the established legal fact declared by the ICTR in its judicial notice. Erlinder headed the association of defense attorneys at the ICTR. Erlinder claimed that: 9 ICTR defense lawyer Christopher Black actively promotes the view that the genocide of the Tutsi is a myth. ICTR-98-44AR73 (C). Case No. Erlinder refused to acknowledge the Tutsi genocide by using a narrow legal definition to describe the convictions handed down by the ICTR. See “Trial Transcript of the Cross-Examination of prosecution witness Alison Des Forges by Christopher Black. Augustin Bizimungu. The strategy called for them never to use the word genocide while arguing their cases before the Tribunal in alluding to criminal charges against their clients. François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye.com/2006/11/generals-trial-transcripts-of-cross_12. 16 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. mass killings. They referred to the crimes as “events. http://cirqueminime. Karemera.blogspot.and other charges. Augustin Ndindiliyimana. Volume 1 Number 2 . These defense attorneys adopted a legal strategy to deny that genocide had happened.10 Even while attempting to refute the charges of genocide denial brought against him by the government of Rwanda. The decision was delivered on the Prosecutor's Appeal on Judicial Notice in the trial of Prosecutor v. Innocent Sagahutu. 2010). massacres. Juvenal Habyarimana. Prosecutor v. Judicial notice of the genocide means that the fact of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda is to be taken as established beyond any dispute and does not require any further proof.html. The Prosecutor no longer had to provide evidence to prove the occurrence of the genocide in each case. 1994 of their Hutu President. Ngirumpatse and Nzirorera.” 13 October 2006. and casualties of civil war. He describes the slaughter as “collective madness” by the Hutu in reaction to the assassination on April 6. Prosecutions could focus on the personal involvement of each accused in the genocide. 10 The Appeals Chamber on 16 June 2006 issued a decision that the Trial Chambers must take judicial notice that between 6 April 1994 and 17 July 1994 there was genocide in Rwanda against the Tutsi ethnic group. ICTR-00-56-T.
May 6." that between 1993-2003 the RPF. However." He argued that. All four accused were acquitted of the charge of ‘conspiracy to commit genocide’. in specific 11 Théoneste Bagosora. 17 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Erlinder also complained that the Rwanda Constitution was amended in 2009 to officially rename the "Rwanda genocide. Prosecutor v. no matter what the facts might be” (Erlinder.) The tactic is a direct denial of the existence of genocide ideology. May 6.. 2011). under conditions that meet the definition of the Genocide Convention. Ntabakuze and Nsengiyumva each received a life sentence for convictions on other charges. (Melvern (2006) and others have well documented the genocide conspiracy. 2011). The Trial Chamber delivered its judgment on 18 December 2008. ICTR-98-41-T. Erlinder particularly employed this denial argument subsequent to the ICTR judgment that acquitted the top Rwandan military officers of conspiracy or planning to commit genocide. Théoneste Bagosora et al. Volume 1 Number 2 .11 After the judgment. “In Kagame's Rwanda. the alleged mastermind of the Rwanda genocide." the "Rwanda Genocide of Tutsis. no victims other than Tutsis need apply. Erlinder wrote that the military officers were found “guilty of specific acts committed by subordinates.I have never disputed the evidence that tens of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis were killed in Rwanda in 1994. Aloys Ntabakuze and Anatole Nsengiyumva. Kabiligi was acquitted of all charges. committed mass violence against both Hutu and Tutsi victims (Erlinder. Case No. (2) I have never disputed the UN characterization of the "Rwandan genocide" as having both Hutu and Tutsi victims. (3) I have never disputed the findings of October 2010 UN "Mapping Report. and others. was tried in the socalled “Military I Case” alongside Gratien Kabiligi. Bagosora. Another denial tactic used by Erlinder and others is the claim that there was no conspiracy to commit genocide in Rwanda despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
in particular when viewed in light of the subsequent targeted and speedy killings immediately after the shooting down of the President’s plane. the judges wrote: The Chamber certainly accepts that there are indications. Judgment and Sentence. the Chamber emphasizes that the question under consideration is not whether there was a plan or conspiracy to commit genocide in Rwanda. the Prosecutor’s charge of conspiracy was not the only plausible conclusion that could be drawn from the facts and criminal acts alleged against the accused. Dec.places. at specific times. 2092). the evidence is also consistent with preparations for a political or military power struggle and measures adopted in the context of an on-going war with the RPF that were used for other purposes from 6 April 1994. Rather. However. para. not an overall conspiracy to kill civilians. which may be construed as evidence of a plan to commit genocide. Consequently. much less Rwandan-Tutsi civilians” (Erlinder. 2008). “At the outset. The Chamber reached the decision to acquit the military officers because. Erlinder was emboldened in his denial by the finding of the ICTR Trial Chamber that the Prosecutor did not meet the standard of proof to gain convictions on the conspiracy charges. the Prosecution has not proven beyond reasonable doubt that the only reasonable inference to be drawn from the evidence is that the four Accused conspired amongst themselves or with others to commit genocide before it 18 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. in its reading. Volume 1 Number 2 . it is whether the Prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt based on the evidence in this case that the four Accused committed the crime of conspiracy” (ICTR-98-41-T. 24. In explaining their finding.
“I can’t say whether there was or wasn’t a master plan for the extermination of the Tutsis. Smith. 24. like the Eastern Front in WWII. Erlinder wrote that. some Rwandan equivalent of the Wannsee Conference. he wrote that no one appearing before the ICTR has ever been found guilty of a "conspiracy to commit genocide". 1314) Based on the ICTR judgment. 28. 33 No. Aug. Rwanda in Six Scenes. http://www. March 2011).e. According to Erlinder. Tutsi) civilians. 2008). rather than the planned behind-the-lines killings in Nazi death camps? The ICTR judgment found the former (Erlinder. Judgment and Sentence. Historians must lay that question to rest’. who wrote that whilst he acknowledged that genocide did happen in Rwanda.lrb. pages 3-8. based on previously suppressed UN documents that got me prosecuted for "genocide denial" by the RPF victors in the Rwanda War” (Erlinder. 19 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. 12 Smith wrote. has found no one guilty of ‘conspiracy to commit genocide’ since it started its proceedings 16 years ago. 2010). he doubted that it had been planned (London Review of Books. In support of his claim. the special UN court based in Arusha and charged with trying genocidal planners and killers. “It was this legal victory. London Review of Books. was it closer to a case of civilians being caught up in wartime violence. (ICTR-98-41-T.uk/v33/n06/stephen-w-smith/rwanda-in-six-scenes. There are other deniers too like journalist Stephen W.” “Rwanda in Six Scenes” by Stephen W.. the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).unfolded from 7 April 1994. previously the Africa editor of Libération and Le Monde. can the tragedy that engulfed Rwanda properly be called “a genocide” at all? Or.12 This is grossly inaccurate. Smith. para. Vol. Dec.co. “this raises the more profound question: If there was no conspiracy and no planning to kill ethnic (i. Volume 1 Number 2 . 6 · 17 March 2011.
the Appeals Chamber unanimously 13 Three of the convictions were overturned on appeal and four others are still subject to review by the Tribunal’s appeals chamber. such as Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. The first conviction for conspiracy to commit genocide is an important one because it came in the guilty plea of Jean Kambanda who served as the Rwanda prime minister in 1994. Kambanda acknowledged that he participated in meetings of the Council of Ministers.aspx.There have been 11 genocide conspiracy convictions by the ICTR. and sentenced him to life imprisonment (ICTR 97-23-S. but no action was taken to intervene He was involved in decisions of the government to train. he would have known about the two conspiracy convictions dating back as far as 1998. the six latest convictions for conspiracy came after publication of his erroneous claim. On October 19. Eliezer Niyitegeka and Edouard Karemera. and meetings of prefects where massacres ensued. It is important to note that Kambanda admitted to conspiring with the ministers of his government. On September 4. 1998. Kambanda sought to recant his confession and requested the Tribunal's Appeals Chamber to have the verdict quashed and a new trial ordered.org/Cases/StatusofCases/ tabid/204/Default. and praise the military and militia groups that hunted down and killed Tutsi civilians. André Ntagerura. direct. Volume 1 Number 2 . See http://www. to commit genocide. cabinet meetings. 2000. encourage. 20 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013.13 To be fair to Smith.unictr. arm. including conspiracy to commit genocide. the ICTR found Kambanda guilty on six counts. Dissatisfied with the life sentence that he received after his guilty plea. Judgment and Sentence). But if he had confirmed the facts.
On 16 May 2003. and persecution). rape. was convicted on June 24. 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit genocide. the former Minister of Family and Women’s Development. founding member of the Movement Démocratique Républicain (MDR) party. In convicting her of conspiracy. Eliézer Niyitegeka was a journalist at Radio Rwanda. and Chairman of the MDR party for Kibuye prefecture from 1991 to 1994. and crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life imprisonment (ICTR-96-14-T). “As a member of the Interim Government. genocide. and serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II thereto (violence to life. On July 9.rejected Kambanda’s claims and affirmed both the convictions and the life sentence (ICTR 9723-A. direct and public incitement to commit genocide. There can be no other inference from these facts than that Nyiramasuhuko conspired with the Interim Government to 21 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Volume 1 Number 2 . para. the Trial Chamber noted that. the Appeals Chamber affirmed the convictions and sentence. crimes against humanity (extermination. 10-11. Nyiramasuhuko participated in many of the Cabinet meetings at which the massacre of Tutsis was discussed. and took part in the decisions which triggered the onslaught of massacres in Butare prefecture. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. He was also the Minister of Information in Rwanda’s Interim Government. and outrages upon personal dignity). conspiracy to commit genocide. and 49-50). Trial Chamber I convicted him of genocide. 2004.
2009). Herman.org/2010/05/01/rwanda-and-thedemocratic-republic-of-congo-in-the-propaganda-system. Excerpted from The Politics of Genocide (Monthly Review Press. flows from U.” Authors Edward Herman and David Peterson in their book The Politics of Genocide claim no conspiracy to kill Tutsi had ever existed. ICTR-98-42-T) Judgment and Sentence. Joseph Kanyabashi. The authors falsely claim that. para.S. as well as the ICTR’s jurisprudence. Volume 62. 15 As another example of distortion and denial of the facts in the “Military I” case see “Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System. we believe. 5678). Arsène Shalom Ntahobali.” David Peterson and Edward S. 22 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Alphonse Nteziryayo.14 On September 30. reflected in media coverage.” http://monthlyreview. Monthly Review. Élie Ndayambaje (Case No. Paragraph 5678. Other recent convicts for genocide conspiracy are Callixte Nzabonimana. and allied support of the RPF. Edouard Karemera and Matthieu Ngirumpatse. All three cases are on appeal as of the writing of this paper (ICTR-98-44D-T and ICTR-98-44-T). the ICTR has never once entertained the question of an RPF conspiracy—despite the RPF’s rapid overthrow of the Hutu government and capture of the Rwandan state. Trial Chamber II convicted both Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza for conspiracy to commit genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide (ICTR-99-50-T).15 There are still others who actively promote an idea that a “standard” account of the genocide is “monumentally flawed. Smith and Erlinder are not alone in using the ICTR acquittal of the military leaders on the conspiracy charges to further their campaign of denying the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Issue 01 (May 2010). “Although it has failed to convict a single Hutu of conspiracy to commit genocide. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. Prosecutor V. Yet the media and genocide 14 Her case was on appeal at the writing of this paper. This. humanitarian intellectuals’ and NGO activism. Volume 1 Number 2 . 2011.commit genocide against the Tutsis of Butare prefecture” (ICTR-98-42-T) Judgment and Sentence. Sylvain Nsabimana.
but the vast power of the internet makes them seem ubiquitous and forceful. this rogue's gallery of American deniers also includes Keith Harmon Snow and Wayne Madsen. Each solemnly cites the others' works to document his fabrications – Robin Philpot. statements by genocidaires. Besides the five cited by Herman and Peterson. fabrications. distortions. Herman and Peterson. have sunk to the level of genocide deniers. 23 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Peter Erlinder. The main authorities on which the authors rest their fabrications are a tiny number of long-time American and Canadian genocide deniers. 2010). innuendo and gross ignorance. “Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide” (1998). Christian Davenport. Caplan wrote the report issued by the panel. Any online search for ‘Rwanda genocide’ gives them a vastly disproportionate pride of place. two dedicated anti-imperialists. Allan Stam.scholar Gerald Caplan has denounced Herman and Peterson as genocide deniers. Christopher Black. In reality. there are only a relative handful of these American deniers.16 Caplan wrote that: … in order to blame the American empire for every ill on earth. And the ‘evidence’ they adduce to back up their delusional tale rests solidly on a foundation of other deniers. who will bitterly resent the authors for failing to invoke them in their book (Caplan. who gleefully drink each other's putrid bath water. 16 The Organization of African Unity (OAU) appointed an International Panel of Eminent Persons to investigate the genocide in Rwanda. Volume 1 Number 2 .
Ironically. May 6. 2010). 2011. Volume 1 Number 2 . Aug. can be whatever the RPF government perceives it to be.000 people killed by the RPF in 1994” and documents “RPF genocide.org/forum/2010/08/rwanda-flawed-elections-and-the-politics-of-genocide-denial. “UN documents show that Kagame knowingly triggered the mass violence in Rwanda by assassinating the two Presidents.php.” Peter Erlinder. Ambassador to Burundi (1994-96) Robert Krueger's eye-witness descriptions of RPF massacres of Hutus in the summer of 1994.S. 2010 and the politically motivated indictment issued by Spanish Judge Abreu Merelles which “describes 325. 24 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013.Forum.Another denial technique is the claim that there was a double genocide – that the RPF killed more Hutus than the number of Tutsis who were killed by Hutus. like Theogene Rudasingwa and other defectors from the Rwandan 17 Writing as a guest columnist for the online journal Jurist. Hutus are ’the perpetrators’ in all cases. Alan Stam of the University of Michigan and Dr. accessed at website: http://jurist. Erlinder claims that. “In Rwanda. According to the RPF government.’ like an ink-blot test. ‘genocide denial. the deniers’ campaign to blame the RPF for causing the genocide is being supported by a few Tutsis. 28. Deniers also claim that a second genocide took place when the RPF invaded the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and caused an undeclared genocide of 6 million Congolese. not to mention. JURIST . then refused to use his military superiority to help stop the mass violence he had knowingly triggered” (Erlinder. May 6. Genocide Denial' and the ICTR: Reflections of a Former Defense Counsel. crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Congo from 1993-2003” (Erlinder. Christian Davenport of Notre Dame that nearly twice as many Hutus were killed as Tutsis. former U. Genocide deniers also try to blame the victims by saying that Kagame and the predominantly Tutsi RPF rebel army caused the genocide by shooting down the plane carrying the Rwandan president in order to seize political power. Erlinder claimed that. 2011). despite recently published findings by Dr.17 Erlinder relies on the discredited UN "Mapping Report" of October 1.
Rudasingwa also told the BBC's Great Lakes Service that. Volume 1 Number 2 . 25 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. 2010). a former RPF soldier and Rwandan prosecutor general now in exile in the United States claims that the RPF killed civilians and committed war crimes with Kagame’s knowledge (French & Gettleman. One commentator wrote. "By committing that kind of crime Kagame has the responsibility in the crime of genocide" (BBC News Africa. September 30. Rudasingwa. who claim to have knowledge that the RPF shot down the plane on April 6. 4 October 2011). who was director of cabinet in Rwanda told the BBC that he had heard Kagame boast in 1994 that he ordered the shooting down of the plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana. coming out to denounce the crime only after losing power and its associated privileges” (Mwenda. to have known that his political party and its leader had caused the genocide in his country and yet he went on to serve as secretary general of the party. The same group of military defectors and Rwandan political officials turned dissidents also claim to have knowledge of RPF human rights violations. 19 October 2011). 1994. Gerald Gahima. Journalists and critics have denounced Rudasingwa for his hypocrisy in accusing the very military and government that he served during the alleged crimes.government and military. It takes a dangerously callous and inhuman mind to be convinced of the culpability of your party and its leader in such a tragedy as the Rwanda genocide and then spend decades serving both in top positions. ambassador to the US and director of cabinet for more than a decade. “But let us assume Rudasingwa told the truth: The BBC journalist could not even ask him what kind of person he is.
Rusesabagina became famous by the Oscar-nominated film Hotel Rwanda that depicted him as a 26 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. they all died under similar circumstances and there is therefore no need to ascribe blame for the Tutsi extermination. (The New Times.Revisionism and trivialization are additional strategies of genocide denial. 2012 when he tried to protest against the annual commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in the middle of a busy suburb of Brussels. Boniface Rutayisire was arrested on April 7. each April 6th. not genocide. the standard-bearer of the media manipulation campaign denying the genocide. deniers seek to minimize and trivialize the deaths of the Tutsi that were specifically targeted for extermination because of their ethnic identity. both Tutsi and Hutu. and call for recognizing all victims. These negationists frequently issue publications and stage events that create spectacles to promulgate their views during the period of mourning and annual commemoration of the genocide victims. The argument goes that if all victims are recognized. Rutayisire belongs to a political group 'Banyarwanda & Tubeho Twese' that advances the view that Rwanda underwent civil war. Deniers use these tactics in seeking to rewrite the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi by offering alternative narratives about what happened in 1994 and who was responsible. April 10. 2012). In a recent example. They do this by arguing that there were victims. Volume 1 Number 2 . Perhaps the best-known agent of minimizing and trivializing the Tutsi Genocide is Paul Rusesabagina. including commemorating the death of President Habyarimana. He was taken into custody on charges of disturbing public order. then no specific group of victims exceeds another in importance. By insisting on including all victims in the memorials and commemorations. Belgium.
and even now there are many who are being killed. He routinely tells the media. to raise money for his cause and also used his newfound public platform to tell his version of the genocide story. In 2010. and anyone else who will listen to him. the prosecutor general of Rwanda. The FDLR is conducting a military campaign to destabilize and overthrow the government of Rwanda. 2011). that there were massacres of Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda.hero who saved 1. makes him the most deadly of the other deniers” (Ngabo. or who simply disappear. Rusesabagina continues to amass support from Americans who have unwittingly swallowed the Hotel Rwanda hero line. New Times . "We have the dates of transactions made. Jan 11. Money was sent from San Antonio. As he makes the rounds of universities and fundraises for his foundation. the Rwanda state indicted Rusesabagina for his support of the FDLR that threatens the stability of the state.200 people from death by sheltering them at the Mille Collines Hotel in Kgali during the genocide." he said (Chiahemen. and received in 27 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. After achieving notoriety from the film. Rusesabagina set up a foundation in the U. “That he now uses his manufactured heroism in various forums to water down the Genocide against Tutsis claiming that both Hutus and Tutsis killed." said Martin Ngoga. Rusesabagina’s unsuspecting audiences do not know that the money they donate to his foundation is being channeled to the jungles of the DRC to finance the terrorist group known as Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). April 23. 2007). "Since 1994.S. Texas. Volume 1 Number 2 . One commentator called Rusesabagina the most deadly denier of the Tutsi Genocide. "We have evidence that Paul Rusesabagina is one of those others who have been financing the same genocidal rebels of the FDLR. Tutsis have been killing Hutus.
Oct. 2012. Ingabire was arrested in April 2010 after she visited a genocide memorial site in Rwanda and made remarks that all those who died in 1994 should be memorialized. He is linked to political opposition figures. The document shows how members of the former Forces Armées Rwandaises (ex-FAR) and members of the Interahamwe militias who had masterminded and executed the genocide in 1994 fled Rwanda into the refugee camps of Eastern DRC. is the one who recommended Erlinder to Victoria Ingabire” (Mbanda.different banks in Bujumbura and Dar es Salaam. Luis Moreno Ocampo the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) submitted a comprehensive document to the Court outlining the history of the FDLR and “the crimes against humanity and war crimes including attacks against a civilian population. 2011). On October 30. “While in the camps. Sept. divisionism and conspiring with the FDLR.18 18 On August 20. The people who received this money told us what the money was for. Volume 1 Number 2 . not just Tutsi victims (Gettleman & Kron. She was charged with genocide ideology.S. rapes.S. Rusesabagina is also implicated in the wider political campaign against the Rwandan government. 2010. reported that “Paul Rusesabagina. Ingabire was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for genocide denial. persecution based on gender and extensive destruction of property” committed by this group. 9. promoting terrorism. Gerald Mbanda. 2010). April 21. as the local coordinator of genocide deniers. 2011). the first secretary at the Rwanda High Commission in Nairobi. including Rudasingwa and Victoria Ingabire. killings. The history shows that the ex-FAR Hutu Power ideology rebel group was a predecessor of the FDLR. they began to recruit and train troops and organized themselves in structured political- 28 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Rwanda has asked the U. which the U. and endangering state security. government to arrest and extradite Rusesabagina to Rwanda for trial but to date that action has not been taken. and Germany have declared a terrorist organization. Rwanda says it has evidence that both Rusesabagina and Ingabire collaborated with the FDRL (Kron. April 1. 2010). 27." Ngoga said (Kezio-Musoke.
Volume 1 Number 2 . 2011). ethical and morally acceptable (legitimate) to act upon commonly accepted ideas and beliefs. The espousal and advocacy of hatred. 29 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. including genocide ideology. http://www. p." [Page 19] ICC 01/04. 2003. military groups designed to oppose the new Rwanda government through violent means. propagating the genocide ideology and trivializing the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi” (Mbanda.Ingabire.int/NR/exeres/F17147E6-CC9A-4B2F-9086-6FC7963B643B. had been living in Europe for many years before she decided to run for the office of President of Rwanda.” we have a moral obligation at least to condemn those who would act to implement “morally and politically loathsome views” (Donnelly. Some ideologies.icc-cpi. We condone and accept the ideas that we allow to be expressed with the understanding that it is lawful. and extermination are anathema to the dignity of humans and to the value we place on them. However. Ingabire's utterances and messages on her website revealed the character of a person promoting ethnic divisions. Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. injury. 52-52). arise from base and morally deplorable motives that produce catastrophic consequences. who leads the FDU-Inkingi Rwandan political opposition party of exiles. April 1.htm. not all ideas or ideologies are of equal value. Theoretical Background for Prohibiting Genocide Ideology and Genocide Denial Communication is central to establish the norms of acceptable behavior in each society. Genocide ideology persecutes. Because “some forms of behavior cannot be tolerated in a rights-protective society. Prosecution’s Application under Article 58 (applying for the issuance of an arrest warrant against Callixte Mbarushimana). “From the first day of her return to Rwanda.
p. 2012. and legal findings based on confirmed evidence presupposes intellectual incapacity. it is 30 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Denial also promotes falsehood and incivility. Volume 1 Number 2 . indifference. 2012. established facts. and even more incitement to violence” (Charny. insults. Because genocide denial is hate speech. Genocide ideology prepares and incites individuals to commit atrocities. and promotes tolerance. 2010. if not acceptance. Laws against genocide ideology condemn and oppose the idea before it leads to criminal acts. ignorance. genocide denial offends. Israel Charny is widely respected and credited as a prime mover in the development of the field of Genocide Studies. The expressions that accompany this ideology continue to threaten public safety and harm societal values that outweigh freedom of speech. historical events. and injures the survivors of genocide and revictimizes the group targeted for extermination. both of which are counter to cherished societal values. Genocide denial diminishes the society by preying upon innocent individuals who are entitled to protection from death. 5). Therefore. of extermination which has been labeled the “the crime of crimes. p.dehumanizes. Denial of empirical data. He warns of the power of genocide denial for “inciting the unleashing of renewed genocidal violence” (Charny. or moral deficiency in the audience. According to Charny. In a similar manner. 6). Denial of genocide offends not only the survivors but also the entire society. 7). “the argument for suppression is often social and psychological” (Schauer. “statements of denial constitute hate language. p.” The ideology of hatred and extermination is a moral affront to humanity. physical injury and psychological harm.
2010. Genocide denial cannot be tolerated because it counters truth as a principal value in democratic societies.19 “Holocaust denial is a type of hate. Journalism operates on the principle that societal discourse should be based on truth. Volume 1 Number 2 . will accept them as truth. 18). actions and beliefs. but it is also a type of falsity.prohibited under the human rights legal regime. Allowing or condoning genocide ideology and genocide denial presents the risk that the public. or some portion of the public. 31 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. p. Genocide denial is the conscious embrace of known falsehood. Rwanda Laws against Genocide Denial Independent researchers and the government of Rwanda conducted studies that documented the existence of genocide denial and genocide ideology in the country. and we can deal with the issue of hate-based falsity only when we understand not only the harms of hate. the basis for informed and rational opinions that contribute to self-government and societal cohesion. but also the harms of falsity and the arguments for tolerating them in the name of freedom of speech” (Schauer. accurate information) on which to base decisions. 19 Article 4 of the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination prohibits hate speech. We need truth (facts. The use of “hate media” to spread genocide ideology and to deny genocide particularly offends the theory of free speech and the role of the press in a democratic society.
some western media and human rights organizations have severely criticized Rwanda and accused the government of suppressing political dissent. minimizing. Suppression And Punishment Of The Crime Of Discrimination And Sectarianism. and denying human rights. Rwanda promulgated laws prohibiting genocide ideology. A second measure outlaws genocide ideology. Law N° 47/2001 of 18/12/2001 . justifying or approving of genocide. media censorship. as manifested in the ideology and actions of those who have vowed to finish the job they started in 1994.On Prevention.Relating To The Punishment Of The Crime Of Genocide Ideology. justifying or approving of genocide.Facing the continuing threat of genocide. and the third prohibits discrimination and sectarianism. the Ministry of Justice and the Rwandan Parliament started to revise the laws against genocide ideology and genocide denial to make them more compatible with the international legal regime protecting human rights and the freedom of expression.Repressing The Crime Of Genocide. denying. Much of the criticism of Rwanda’s laws is based on its prosecution of journalists and others who have spread genocide ideology and divisionism in the society that is seeking to develop unity and to recover 20 Law N°18/2008 of 23/07/2008 . minimizing. Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes. 32 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. negating. Her arrest drew even more international attention to Rwanda’s attempt to deal with the historical problem of abuse of freedom of expression and misuse of the media to inflame passions and to incite people to commit genocide. Volume 1 Number 2 . One law criminalizes negating. Law N° 33 Bis/2003 of 06/09/2003 . In 2012. and prohibiting discrimination and sectarianism. Ingabire ran afoul of these laws.20 Instead of applauding these measures as prudent actions of a responsible government. There are actually three different laws in Rwanda with provisions against genocide denial.
The outcry from human rights organizations about censorship and political suppression in Rwanda and the volume of news coverage about a crack down on journalist would suggest that many more arrests have taken place. The human rights organization Article 19 described the prohibition on genocide ideology in the Rwandan Draft Penal Code as arbitrary. Five journalists are among those who were prosecuted for genocide ideology or related violations. The prosecutions resulted in 1.22 One of the main criticisms of the Rwandan laws is that they are vague and do not give enough notice about what types of communication and behaviors are criminal.158 convictions with sentences ranging from one month to life imprisonment. Between January 2008 and September 2011. spreading genocide ideology. Volume 1 Number 2 .712 people for genocide denial. such as drunk driving. or sectarianism (creating division in the country). undefined and containing remarkably broad concepts that “may be 21 Case files and prosecution statistics from the Rwanda National Prosecution Authority on file with author. July 2011 and case files in possession of the author. Since President Kagame took office in 2002. 33 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. 22 Interview with Rwandan prosecutor Eric Nkwasa. assaults. fraud. about 20 Rwandan journalists have been arrested according to a listing on the website of Reporters Without Borders (RWB). and other serious crimes prosecuted in the Rwandan courts. and embezzlement.from the 1994 genocide. However.21 The 69 percent conviction rate for these crimes is the same as for murder. most of the journalists claimed by the RWB claim to have been wrongfully arrested for political suppression or censorship reasons actually were arrested for other crimes. Rwanda prosecuted 1.
2012).700 cases that have come before them. RWB published a study based on a sample of 31 genocide ideology and genocide denial cases heard by the Rwandan courts between 2007 and 2010. In February 2011. a Rwanda Supreme Court decision upheld the convictions of journalists Agnes Nkusi Uwimana and Saidath Mukakibibi for threatening state security. such as the crop intensification drive.exploited by authorities to suppress legitimate discussion of history. Uwimana’s conviction for defamation was also upheld. involves two journalists who were convicted in February 2011 for publishing articles. On April 4. April 6. 12 and p. Uwimana’s prison 34 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. However. 61-62). The 31 percent acquittal rate for these types of cases suggest that they have been successful in analyzing the charges against the accused and deciding whether they fit the definition of the prohibited acts. p. 2011. which the Rwandan Prosecutor General argued spread division because they were designed to dissuade Rwandans from participating in national development programs. other than the pending case against Ingabire. Its analysis found that the facts alleged in the charges were so unclear and imprecise that the accused could not adequately prepare a defense (Avocats Sans Frontieres. politics and personal experience” (Article 19. The two were also accused of insulting the person of President Paul Kagame by alleging that he “shares the loot” that some of his “top military officers” extort from the masses and that under his regime. November 2011. Rwandan people are worse off than they were in the past (Asiimwe. Volume 1 Number 2 . Rwandan judges have been able to interpret and apply the laws in more than 1. p. land consolidation and the credit and savings program. but convictions were overturned on the charges of genocide ideology and instilling divisionism among Rwandans. 2012. 15). The most prominent of these cases.
Like other rights. 23 Urubanza RPA 0061/11/CS MP vs. [Case is being translated into English] 35 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Amnesty International reports. Sam Rugege said "Freedom of expression is not an absolute right. She was also fined 77. The New York Times articles.sentence was reduced from 17 years to four years. 2012). April 5. it is subject to regulation" (Agence France Press. and in an Article 19 analysis of the draft Rwandan Penal Code that includes provisions from the laws against genocide ideology and related crimes. Supreme Court Chief Justice. This bias prevails despite the restrictions on speech and press that are recognized and upheld in the international human rights instruments and by the laws of numerous Western nations.23 In upholding the convictions for threatening state security. Genocide deniers and human rights advocates interpret the Rwandan laws against genocide ideology and genocide denial as violating freedom of speech and suppressing political opposition. Uwimana Nkusi Agnès & Mukakibibi Saidati. Manipulation of Media Reporting on Free Expression and Genocide Denial Rwanda also faces the challenge of accurately representing itself to the rest of the world while countering the domestic threat of recurring genocide in a democracy that supports freedom of expression and other human rights. policy advocacy organizations. The sentence for Mukakibibi was reduced from seven to three years. The country seems unable to overcome the Western media bias that favors unbridled expression and opposes any restrictions on media reporting. Volume 1 Number 2 . The criticism has come in Human Rights Watch reports. 000 Rwandan Francs. Reporters Without Borders publications.
2010). The piece does contain the charge that the Rwandan government is “steadily crushing” political dissent. HRW makes a sensational and sweeping charge about political dissent in Rwanda without verifiable data or credible independent sources for that conclusion. The two organizations often quote each other in circular references to report. 2010). following a strategy of recirculating citations of undocumented charges. accusations without any supporting evidence. She immediately refers to The New York Times article after making the accusation. Readers are supposed to accept the reporting as truth simply because of publication in HRW documents or The New York Times. Sep. He o offers that 36 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report condemning the RPF government for what it called “the steady crushing of political dissent" (Human Rights Watch. as facts. The HRW report is really a commentary. But the HRW official offers no evidence on which she bases that conclusion. Leading up to the Rwanda presidential election in 2010. 19. The New York Times article on which she appears to be basing her charge of political repression in Rwanda also demonstrates the circular citation fallacy (Gettleman. but provides no supporting data to convince the reader of her conclusion’s accuracy.Human Rights Watch and The New York Times have published numerous reports and news articles criticizing the Rwandan government for allegedly suppressing freedom of the press and individual political freedom. Roth provides the quote that President Kagame is “stymieing a political opposition” in Rwanda. April 30. Volume 1 Number 2 . The HRW official cites HRW Director Roth (or HRW cites itself) as the source for evidence of repression in Rwanda. an opinion piece by an HRW officer.
” because it does not meet the journalistic news standards of the publisher.” The article quotes two opposition politicians who claim to have no space to talk about the genocide. Roth was challenged publicly about “his disdain for the Rwandan government. Richard Johnson. April 18. KennethRoth.” “critics. The New York Times article referenced by the HRW official is full of unsupported claims by unnamed and unspecified “political analysts. has against Rwanda. the charges of persecution and repression are assertions made by The New York Times reporter. The Reuters and BBC news services have also been accused of bias in their supposedly 37 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. 2013). There was recent criticism of the Human Rights Watch reporting on Rwanda and of the bias that its director. The piece should have been labeled “commentary or opinion.conclusion without any independent data or without identifying any repressed sources that make that claim.” and political “dissidents” who say Rwanda is “repressive. a retired American diplomat. However. Volume 1 Number 2 . which critics say has led him to commit ‘serious professional mistakes’ as a rights advocate” (New Times. March 22. Johnson issued a report based on his research of HRW. has called the credibility of Human Rights Watch into question over its coverage of post-Genocide Rwanda. He said that the organization and Roth are on a campaign against Rwanda that is “aimed at rewriting history and influencing world opinion in a slanted manner” (New Times. 2013).” “human rights groups.
26 See posting at Reporters Without Borders website: http://en.net/13844. “Every year several Rwandan journalists decide to go into exile because they find the atmosphere unbearable in their home country.org/predator-paul- See http://www.bloggernews. and of arbitrarily arresting and assassinating journalists and political opponents of the RPF. May 21.com/ 2012/06/fw-dhr-rwanda-genocide-who-killed-hutu.42472. who the organization lists prominently on its website as an ‘enemy of freedom of the press. “Rusesabagina.blogspot. 19 October 2011.”25 RWB is also zealous in its criticism of President Kagame. http://www.objective news reporting about Rwanda. and Europe have had success in convincing traditional and social media outlets to carry their ideological propaganda. 2007. Reporters Without Borders is another Western human rights organization that has published reports accusing the Rwanda government of suppressing political dissent.S. and http://uk-africa.rsf. 2002). “Here is Rudasingwa’s moral bankruptcy. Genocide And Identity Politics [opinion] Posted on January 14. Mwenda. and William Church.com/tags/afrobeatradio. Genocide deniers and Rwandan defectors in the U.’ It seldom misses an opportunity to repeat in its reports that “Reporters Without Borders reminds readers that President Paul Kagame has been denounced as one of the world’s 38 predators of press freedom” (Reporters Without Borders.html. 38 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. usually relying on exiles.anngarrison. 25 kagame.” The Independent.26 The genocide denial campaign of the ICTR defense attorneys has also 24 For claims about Reuters and BBC biased reporting see: Andrew M. Ann Garrison of the Afrobeat Radio regularly hosts genocide deniers on her radio program and on her website and blog. Volume 1 Number 2 .24 The charges of bias arise when Western media report about politics in the country.html. According to RWB. dissidents and human rights advocates.
“Unfortunately these attacks appear to be consistent with a disturbing pattern of censorship.S. the Foundation issued a press release accusing the Rwandan government of manufacturing the protest in an attempt to “smear the good name” of Rusesabagina. When members of the Rwandan Diaspora demonstrated in front of the Foundation’s headquarters to protest the awarding of the Prize to Rusesabagina. 2011).S. April 23. Volume 1 Number 2 . “Caplan points out that the biased reports against the Government of Rwanda by human rights organizations have also provided an unqualified level of legitimacy to the deniers' malicious intentions” (Ngabo. Rusesabagina received the U. The deniers have been so successful in gaining legitimacy that they are now being celebrated and awarded by government officials and some of the most prestigious human rights organizations. and policy advocacy organizations. Rwandan genocide survivors were up in arms when the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice decided to award the 2011 Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize to Rusesabagina for being an outstanding humanitarian who rescued Rwandan Tutsi from death in 1994 just as Oskar Schindler had done for the Jews during the Holocaust. In 2005. philanthropic foundations.S. intimidation and even violence that has 39 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Former recipients of the Prize include His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Nobel Laureate and Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel.influenced the Western media. Presidential Medal of Freedom for heroism during Rwanda's genocide. The Lantos Prize commemorates the late Congressman Tom Lantos. According to the release. Representative. the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the U. Congress and a prominent advocate for human rights during his nearly three decades as a U.
Accessed by author on November 11. But Rusesabagina and Rudasingwa are still regulars on the speaking circuit in forums sponsored by prominent research and policy advocacy organizations like the Open Society Institute. Freedom of expression is now being used as a cloak for genocide deniers who manipulate the elite Western mass media and human rights organizations for their own propaganda purposes. 27 Website.” As if for good measure. 40 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Nov.been directed at those who have dared voice concerns about the government of Rwanda. was removed shortly after the controversy. These organizations give the genocide deniers a stage to propagate their ideology and to launch attacks against the Rwandan government. This pattern is not unique to Rwanda. the Foundation added to its website a November 11.”27 The Lantos Foundation awarded its prize and the controversy blew over. 2011. 9. http://www. Volume 1 Number 2 . The Foundation’s press release added that “the very freedom to take part in these protests is something that wouldn’t be allowed in Rwanda under the current government. Search for Common Ground.org/?p=5774&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_ campaign=kagame-receives-yet-another-slap-in-america. 2011). we now learn that the USA-based Lantos Foundation has charged Kagame with manufacturing controversy and protests against the awarding of its 2011 Human Rights Prize to Paul Rusesabagina. 2011 link to a posting on the “African Dictator” website claiming that “Thanks to our AD Blogger Kamikazi. and the Council for Strategic and International Studies. Other authoritarian regimes have responded in a similar fashion” (Lantos Foundation.africandictator.
28 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. hostility or violence” (ICTR-99-52-T. adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966. Germany. and The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.This includes the long-standing genocide denial campaign of ICTR defense attorneys and the more recent social media and Internet campaign of Rwandan defectors and genocide fugitives who have found aid and comfort in North America and Europe. 41 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Volume 1 Number 2 . “In fact. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and various other international legal instruments guarantee freedom of expression. Laws Prohibiting Holocaust and Genocide Denial The UN Charter. and France are among the nations that criminalize such speech. Other international conventions and treaties state that individuals should be protected from propaganda and advocacy of racial hatred. The international conventions and treaties that explicitly protect freedom of expression also allow for significant restrictions on hate speech. 1074). adopted June 27. More than 20 countries have laws making it a crime to deny the Holocaust. governments have an obligation under international law to prohibit any advocacy of national. hate speech is not a protected expression under international law. 1981 entered into force October 21. 1986. However.28 The advocacy of hatred by itself does not constitute genocide. Judgment and Sentence. para. racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination. Israel.
The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1946 ruled that the Nazi Party was a criminal organization and convicted some of his members for the massacre of the Jews in the infamous concentration or death camps in Europe. trivialization or approval. Germany has criminalized denial of the Holocaust and also banned the use of insignia related to Hitler's regime and. Israel adopted a law to criminalize Holocaust denial [Denial of Holocaust (Prohibition) Law. denial. German law. the National Socialist Party (Nazi party) of Germany was branded a criminal organization and banned. of actions of the National Socialist regime. including through dissemination of publications. Under the law. however. It also extended the ban on Nazi symbols and anything that might resemble Nazi slogans. 5746-1986]. Holocaust denial became a criminal offense under a general anti-incitement law. The 1994 amendment increased the penalty from one year up to five years imprisonment. The law states that incitement. 1985 BGB1. In 1994. Section 130 of the German Penal Code prohibits denial or minimizing of the genocide committed under the National Socialist regime. anyone convicted for denying or 29 German Penal Code §130 StGB.29 The law has been amended a number of times since its initial passage in 1985. Volume 1 Number 2 .In the aftermath of World War II. written materials or images promoting the Nazi message. This includes public denial or gross trivialization of international crimes. On July 8. 42 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. is a criminal offense. Holocaust denial was outlawed as an “insult” to the personal honor of every Jew in Germany. As part of its efforts to overcome its Nazi past. especially genocide/the Holocaust. in public or in an assembly. approval of Nazism. I 965. did not just stop at banning the Nazi Party. 1986.
1996.” Article R645-1 of the French Penal Code prohibits the public display of Nazi uniforms. Law No 90-615 of 13 July 1990. Commonly known in France as the Gayssot Law (Loi Gayssot) after its author. insignia and emblems. Denial of the Holocaust is punishable under a law that is based on the findings of the Nuremberg Tribunal. The measure gives all member nations the option to impose a maximum prison sentence of three years on those convicted for "denying or grossly trivializing crimes of genocide. but rather prohibits any “racist. makes it an offense to question the existence of “crimes against humanity” as they are defined in the Nuremberg Charter. 06/12/2008 P. France has long had in force a law against Holocaust denial that is not considered a violation of freedom of expression. The French law does not explicitly criminalize denial of the Holocaust. the Council of the European Union adopted the Joint Action/96/443/JHA to help combat racism and xenophobia. on July 15.diminishing the acts that are crimes against the Jewish people or crimes against humanity committed in the period of the Nazi regime. the Spanish Constitutional Court used case law on Holocaust denial from the European Court of Human Rights to sanction the prosecution of a neo-Nazi activist and owner of 30 Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law. 43 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Official Journal L 328. can face imprisonment for up to five years.”30 In 2007. While the European Union has not prohibited Holocaust denial outright. 0055 – 0058. anti Semitic or xenophobic acts. crimes against humanity and war crimes. with intent to defend the perpetrators of those acts or to express sympathy or identification with them. Volume 1 Number 2 .
denied. The experience in Western and Eastern Europe should demonstrate that Rwanda’s laws are compatible with the freedom of expression. most nations recognize restrictions on speech and press through a media system that includes licensing of journalists and registration of publications. as well as freedom of information and access laws and ombudsmen for professional self-regulation. Rwanda’s laws against genocide denial fit within this international regime for protecting human rights.a bookstore who sold publications in which the Holocaust was. libel and defamation laws. intimidation. Latvia. However. Hungary. trivialized or justified. might be punished under the Spanish Criminal Code without violating the freedom of speech provisions of the Constitution (Coderch & Puig. The Spanish Court ruled that the simple denial of genocide as a historical fact without adding any subjective value judgment whatsoever is speech protected by the Constitution. Eastern European nations newly liberated from Communism followed suit. Volume 1 Number 2 . Since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Limitations on Free Expression/Human Rights Despite the constitutional guarantees of free expression. the former communist nations that have enacted similar bans on Holocaust denial and public display of Nazi-era symbols or slogans include Estonia. the Czech Republic. 2008). it found that statements either glorifying or extolling the Holocaust or minimizing or trivializing its consequences. including 44 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. including the right of vulnerable minority populations to be free from threat. and extermination. Restrictions on freedom of expression and the mass media have been upheld in Western nations for many reasons. and Poland. Western European nations are not the only ones to criminalize denial of the Holocaust. as a historical fact.
disruption of the right to a public/”fair” trial. preventing incitement to commit crime. protection of state secrets. Africa National Congress official. In every country. libel/slander. These threats are real. freedom of expression has recognized legal limits. The human rights of all are preserved by limitations on individual expression and on the mass media. prohibiting advocacy of violent overthrow of government. discrimination and persecution." outside the right to freedom of expression and removes it from the ambit of constitutional protection. In September 2011. threat against the head of state (U. Julius Malema.eliminating threat to national security. invasion of privacy. they are not imagined. Judge Collin Lamont ruled in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg that while songs like “Shoot the Boer” were part of the fight against white minority rule. The ruling represented a significant 45 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. eliminating threat to public safety. protecting human dignity. “hate speech.S. Sept. Kenya. was convicted of hate speech in South Africa for singing an apartheid-era song that advocated the killing of white farmers.” media manipulation and abuse of the freedom of expression facilitated genocide in Rwanda in 1994. and disruption of public schools. Volume 1 Number 2 . including "hate speech. 12. Freedom is not an absolute. and Senegal. preventing incitement to violence. “Hate speech” and “hate radio” preceded the recent conflicts and political violence in Rwanda. Rwanda is not alone among African countries that prohibit hate speech and incitement to violence. The South African Constitution places certain forms of expression. Government has an interest and a duty in protecting public safety and order. 2011). intimidation. they now constitute hate speech as South Africa seeks to heal itself from its history of racial discrimination (Mail & Guardian. preventing threat. Ivory Coast. In the most extreme case. especially in the case of Africa. President). genocide denial.
Volume 1 Number 2 . Threatening the President of the United States is a felony under the US Code Title 18. Adler wrote a column about the threat that Iran poses to Israel. In September 211. He proposed three options for the Jewish state to 31 Eatock v. resigned under public pressure after he was investigated by the Secret Service for threatening President Obama in an editorial published on January 13. one of Africa’s most democratic countries. Missouri on April 14. Andrew Adler. popular right-wing Australian commentator Andrew Bolt was convicted under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act when he questioned the racial heritage of nine “fair-skinned Aborigines” in an article published by the Herald and Weekly Times.31 An Australian Federal Court ordered that Bolt and the newspaper be restrained from republishing the contravening articles. Louis. Australia’s anti-discrimination law imposes restrictions on speech that insults and threatens ethnic minority populations. American musician. Ted Nugent. Bolt  FCA 1103. Bolt (No 2)  FCA 1180.legal test of the frontier between free speech and hate speech in South Africa. The United States also recognizes restrictions on harmful speech. April 18. 2012). and ordered the Herald Sun newspaper to publish corrective notices in the print and online versions of the newspaper. owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times. 2012 (Jewish Telegraphic Agency). was investigated by the Secret Service for threatening President Obama during a speech at a National Rifle Association convention in St. Section 871. It is also a crime to threaten Federal judges. Eatock v. 46 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. 2012 (Jennings.
1990 upholding a 1951 Georgia anti-mask law. President are not new. based Israeli Mossad secret service agents should “to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place and forcefully dictate that the United States' policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies" (CNN. The recent actions of the Secret Service to investigate and enforce the laws against threating the life and limb of the U. Supreme Court continued to uphold these restrictions through a series of rulings” (Demaske. S90A1172. the U. 5. 538 U. “For almost 40 years. 2012).S. They upheld these laws because of the history of Ku Klux Klan racism and victimization of African-Americans by this hate group. January 21. These laws protected citizens not only against actual physical violence.S. Black. One of them called for a "hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence" (CNN. Black case upheld the prohibition of cross burning as a form of intimidation based on the Klan’s role in the history of racial segregation and terrorizing African Americans in the south (Virginia v. Supreme Court found that cross burning could be outlawed because it constitutes a “true threat” to individuals and 32 State v. but also against threats and intimidation. 2008. 2003). 2012).S.S. 47 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. 343.S. January 21. (1990) case decided Dec. government passed legislation restricting the expression of certain antigovernment ideology and the U.counter the Iranian regime. The U. 53).S. Miller. 669. The rationale for upholding these restrictions on expression was the “compelling state interest” in protecting the civil rights of citizens to be free from violence and intimidation.32 The 2003 Virginia v. 260 Ga. p. Volume 1 Number 2 . American courts have upheld laws in southern states against wearing masks and hoods to conceal identity. Adler advocated that U. 398 SE2d 547.
2005-2006.groups in society. This was seen as undermining the foundation of a government “which was built on an ideological repudiation of Nazism” (Kahn. It is important to note that the Court found cross burnings to be “potent symbols of shared group identity and ideology” (Kahn. we see a strong precedent for Rwanda’s repudiation of genocide and the racist Hutu Power ideology that spurred the campaign to exterminate the Tutsi. p. After 1945. In the same manner. p. p. 356). minimizing or trivializing the Holocaust. 186). 184-185). just as threats to the life of the U. Germans began to see “anti-Semitism as a threat to the national identity of Germany as a normal nation. the historical role of the Nazis in persecuting and exterminating the Jews made Germany outlaw insults and anti-Semitism as a threat to Jews and to the security of the country (Kahn. just as Americans view cross burning as a threat to their own identity. 187). Volume 1 Number 2 . This ideology of hatred and the historical record of abuses committed against racial minorities by the Klan made the burning of crosses particularly abhorrent in the eyes of the justices. 48 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. President. In Germany’s prohibition against denying.S. These trends only intensified when the emphasis shifted from anti-Semitism to Holocaust denial” (Kahn. p. Holocaust deniers were considered a threat to the state because they were challenging the legitimacy of laws and legal rulings on anti-Semitism by claiming that the Nazi persecution of Jews did not happen. The genocide denial law and the law against divisionism are prudent steps that the Rwandan government has taken to avoid repetition of genocide.
237). a free press and independent media have also come to be viewed as a “human right”. Volume 1 Number 2 . By extension.An apparent double standard exists when human rights organizations criticize Rwanda for criminalizing genocide denial in light of the practice in numerous Western countries that have for so many years been prosecuting and punishing those who deny the Holocaust. The restriction on speech that harms others [genocide denial. Freedom of speech and the underlying value of personal autonomy are often at odds with other values or “state interests. Genocide Denial Laws and the Responsibility to Protect (Prevent Genocide) Freedom of expression is enshrined as the primary human right in various international treaties. Despite the legal documents guaranteeing human rights. Harmful speech. hatred] is perfectly consistent with supporting all human rights. persecution. 2003. it is those on the social margins. 49 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. The double standard is even more obvious when we consider that laws are being used to curb threatening speech even in countries with constitutions that are the most protective of freedom of speech. Likewise. hatred and threat to physical safety cannot be tolerated because they threaten common/community public interests that outweigh individual rights. persecution. p. especially when they have been forced to the margins. conventions and other legal instruments. Tutsi survivors in post-genocide Rwanda are the despised and marginalized individuals needing the most protection. “the real test of human rights comes when a state or society deals with unpopular or despised deviants rather than those comfortably in the mainstream. who have the greatest need and the most important uses for human rights” (Donnelly. genocide promotion.” such as preserving public safety and public morals.
12 (3–4). in extreme cases. if not the very survival. Volume 1 Number 2 . January 12. October 24. He headed the UN peacekeeping department during the genocide and was later blamed for passivity. governments can and should ban such expression that could incite violence. of minority populations under threat of extermination (United Nations. para. “A solution from hell: the United States and the rise of humanitarian interventionism. hateful and xenophobic messages and that 33 According to one researcher. and recognition of crisis of legitimacy facing the United Nations. bringing international prosecution. and responsibility to rebuild by providing full assistance with recovery. Guilt over Rwanda. 2005. 138-140).” the Secretary-General of the United Nations (Kofi Annan) argued that under the responsibility to protect doctrine. responsibility to react by responding appropriately to situations of massive human rights violations by imposing sanctions. 149–172. perhaps underlay his strong humanitarian interventionist posture.” Journal of Genocide Research (2010). Recognizing that the international community did not “respond vigorously to ethnically inflammatory broadcasts and rhetoric in the Balkans in the early 1990s or in Rwanda in 1993 and 1994 in the months preceding the genocide.” Stephen Wertheim. intervening with military force. reconstruction and reconciliation particular after any military intervention (United Nations. p. 12-13). September–December 2010.33 He went further to suggest that the international community should jam radio broadcasts of offensive. “Rwanda was personally wrenching for Annan. and. as well as other man-made crises. 2009. The responsibility to protect people from human rights violations embraces three specific responsibilities: responsibility to prevent by addressing both the root and immediate causes of conflicts within countries.The Responsibility to Protect Doctrine under the developing international human rights legal regime also provides for restrictions on harmful speech as a way to preserve the human rights. 50 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013.
since the UN Security Council adopted the responsibility to protect doctrine in 2006. The United Nations has developed the doctrine. genocide denial. Volume 1 Number 2 . That is. p. 2009). human rights organizations are criticizing the Rwandan government for performing the state’s duty to protect the public interest (vulnerable populations) by limiting the individual human right to free expression with laws against promoting genocide ideology and genocide denial. These laws should be viewed as an important component of the “responsibility to prevent” reoccurrence of genocide and the “responsibility to rebuild” the society after the 1994 genocide. it has not intervened on behalf of vulnerable victims. May 21. 2010. a huge assumption” (Caplan. At the same time. “but it cannot effectuate what it has pledged” (Wertheim. 167). 51 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. January 12. “assuming the political will to intervene. expression that incites violence can be banned. 2009. 24). If under the responsibility to protect doctrine. Tension between the individual human right to free expression and the group right to survival (to avoid genocide) may be one reason for the reluctance of the international community to act when populations are threatened. However. p. then the Rwandan government is discharging its responsibility by outlawing and punishing genocide ideology.UN Peacekeepers “can counter such messages with its own broadcasts and information services” (United Nations. Caplan argues that the Responsibility to Protect doctrine is potentially more effective than the genocide convention because there is no need to officially declare that genocide is in progress before intervening to prevent human rights abuses. and genocide minimization under its domestic laws.
Jr.org/mlk/mlkspeech/. The on-going campaign of genocide denial further challenges social cohesion and progress in post-genocide Rwanda. Those steps are based on the realities of its political history that was dominated by a Hutu power ideology of exclusionism and impunity for attempts to exterminate the minority Tutsi ethnic group. but behavior can be regulated. 34 "The Other America. The other reality of Rwanda’s recent past is the role that the mass media played in disseminating the genocidal ideology. “It may be true that morality cannot be legislated." speech by Rev. These laws are not unusual.Conclusion Rwanda has taken steps to curb the threat of atrocities in its post-genocide recovery period.gphistorical. anti-Tutsi propaganda and hate messages that incited the population to commit genocide in 1994. despite the criticism of free expression absolutists who do not live under constant threat of annihilation.”34 Recognizing this reality. http://www. 1968. 52 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. Grosse Pointe High School. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless. Martin Luther King. Volume 1 Number 2 . Rwanda has relied on its laws against genocide ideology and genocide denial as a restraint against any further attempts to exterminate the Tutsi. March 14..
Despite having laws in place to prevent hate speech that threatens vulnerable populations in countries where they are located. as a cloak for their ideological campaign of hate and divisionism. Western media and human rights organizations have allowed themselves to be manipulated by genocide deniers who abuse idealistic notions of free expression to promote the Hutu power ideology that fueled genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Volume 1 Number 2 . The existence of Holocaust denial laws in more than 20 countries around the world demonstrates the double standard of these human rights organizations that criticize Rwanda for prohibiting genocide denial under its domestic laws. The responsibility to protect doctrine has proven ineffective to date but it does present a new tool with which to balance genocide prevention through restrictions on hate speech (and even intervention on humanitarian grounds) with the absolutist view of freedom of expression as the ultimate international human right. media freedom. Rwanda must grapple with the challenge of rebuilding and uniting a previously divided society while the critics continue to advocate for an ideal that their own Western governments continue to strive to attain. 53 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013. The deniers are thus able to use constitutional guarantees of individual freedom of expression and.The threat of violence and incitement to violence via the mass media presents a severe challenge for African leaders like President Paul Kagame who govern under accusations and pressure from Western critics that revel in the rhetoric of social media revolution and “Democratic” idealism but ignore the reality of governance and pragmatic leadership needed in societies marked by conflict and poverty. by extension.
Charny.The remaining challenge for Rwanda is in tailoring its laws against genocide denial and genocide ideology to allow for historical. 2012). Pambazuka News.article19. (April 6. Caplan. http://pambazuka. "Fire. intimidation. Brussels. (October 4. Volume 1 Number 2 . Bibliography Agence France Press.ece3e53648ded978749d9b29e939c905. G.4f1. The other major challenge for Rwanda is to negotiate the tension between individual free speech rights and its duty to protect vulnerable populations from threat. Rwanda: Draft Pena Code (Legal Analysis). 2010). Asiimwe. http://allafrica. http://www. New Times. 54 The International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation Fall 2013.html. http://www. I.170. The politics of denialism: The strange case of Rwanda. (February 2011).com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i5kUIbrZWI-cs1LB4d2SSurPVyQ?docId=CNG. (June 17. and extermination as it finds ways to implement human rights in a national. Issue 6. (April 5. W.php/resource/2881/en/rwanda:-draft-penal-code. 2011). historical.org/en/category/features/65265. (November 2011). BBC News Africa. Article 19.bbc. and political discussion of genocide and to better conform to the international human rights legal regime. 2009). scientific. 2012). G. Caplan.php?i=&a=52193&icon=Results&id=2. La pratique judiciaire du contentieux de l’ideologie du genocide et infractions connexes au Rwanda: Limites et defies d’application 2007-2010. Jailed Rwanda Journalists' Prison Terms Cut. Scribes’ Sentences Slashed.com/stories/printable/200905220175. R. Rwandan President Kagame 'sparked 1994 genocide'. (Feb. Review of ‘The Politics of Genocide’. 5. (May 21. B.91/news/ index. http://108. Rwanda: Some Things We Know About Genocide. Avocats Sans Frontieres.uk/news/world-africa-15165641.co. http://www. Fire" and Legislating Denials of Holocaust and Genocide: Tolerable Free Speech or Criminal Incitement to Violence? Genocide Prevention Now.google. and cultural context that preserves other societal interests. 2012).167. Issue 486.org/resources.
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