Rwanda. During the year, Rwanda was characterized by a continued deal with the past and harsh hold on those who criticize the government. So determined is the Tutsid-dominated government not to allow the genocide to be repeated that divergent political views are easily labeled as revolting. Several Western countries within the UN Human Rights Council appealed to the Rwandan government in January to protect the country’s journalists and deplored the tendency for restrictions on freedom of expression. Shortly thereafter, Agnès Uwimana Nkusi, publisher of the monthly newspaper Umurabyo, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for, among other things. slander and genocide denial, and reporter Saidath Mukakibibi to seven years for revival. The magazine had in several articles criticized the redistribution of agricultural land and legal uncertainty in the so-called gacaca courts.
The gacacia system was created in 2001 based on a traditional model for local justice and was added to handle the enormous accumulation of cases after the genocide in simpler forms. The system would have been discontinued as early as 2007 but was gradually extended due to the number of cases. In 2011, however, the last gacaca courts were closed.
According to Countryaah official site, Rwanda’s regular judicial system has largely been rebuilt and now given such high competence that the UN Criminal Court (ICTR) in Arusha during the year was able to submit a case to Rwanda for the first time. It involved a Pentecostal church pastor who was accused of participating in mass murder. In October, Sweden received clearance from the Court of Justice of the Council of Europe (European Court of Justice) to extradite a genocide suspected Rwandan to his home country. The extradition was halted by the European Court in 2010 pending an investigation into whether this was compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized the Rwandan judiciary for bowing to political pressure. HRW said that the sentence of four years in prison for opposition politician Bernard Ntaganda, leader of the Imberakuri Socialist Party, was a sign of how the government is using the judiciary to silence criticism. He was convicted of, among other things, threats to the security of the kingdom and incitement to people’s groups. In September, the trial of opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza began, which has been in custody for almost a year. She was charged with, among other things, terrorism and, according to prosecutors, had provided money to the Huturebell movement FDLR in Congo (Kinshasa).
ICTR, which is pressured by the need to close its business in a reasonable time, issued a number of judgments during the year. In May, former Army Chief Augustin Bizimungu was sentenced to 30 years in prison and two senior officers each 20 years for the 1994 assassination of the then Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and ten Belgian UN soldiers trying to protect her.
In June, the sentence became a life sentence for former minister Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the first woman convicted of genocide at an international tribunal. 30 years each was the penalty in September for two former ministers for participation in genocide and incitement to genocide. In December, the previous two party leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment. On the other hand, the ICTR’s higher authority drew attention and consternation that reduced the life sentence to 35 years for Théoneste Bagosora, who was designated as perhaps the supreme culprit for the genocide. The judges considered him innocent of some of the individual murders he was previously convicted of.
President Agathe Habyarimana escaped being extradited to Rwanda from France, where she has lived in safety since the genocide. However, she has a civil case hanging over her in France.
Prime Minister Bernard Makuza was elected to the Senate in September. The new head of government was Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, who was previously a member of the East African Legislative Assembly (East African Community Parliament) and Minister of Education.