Thursday, April 08, 2010

Rwanda's Packed Prisons and Genocide Ideology Law
By Ann Garrison
San Francisco Bay View, April 7, 2010
"'Genocide ideology' became a crime in Rwanda in 2003, the same year President Paul Kagame officially became Rwanda's president, with that year's ratification of the new Rwandan Constitution, which includes Article 13: 'The crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes do not have a period of limitation. Revisionism, negationism and trivialisation of genocide are punishable by the law.' Today, 62 percent of the people packed into Rwanda's prisons have been charged or convicted of genocide-related crimes and some of the country's most admired leaders are being accused of the 'genocide ideology' thought crime. Most prominent are Victoire Ingabire, Kagame's strongest competitor for the presidency, and Paul Rusesabagina, the hero portrayed in the film 'Hotel Rwanda,' who is charged with 'Double Genocide Theory.' Article 13 criminalizes not only genocidal violence but also disagreement with the received history of the Rwanda Genocide, which has become a major issue in Rwanda's 2010 presidential election.
Many academics, journalists and human rights investigators, the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda and Judge Fernando Andreu of Spain's National Court now disagree with the received history of who and how many died, who killed whom, who was most responsible and how the tragedy unfolded, but Rwandan citizens who disagree must take care not to do so publicly. University of Michigan Professor Allan Stam concluded, with University of Notre Dame Professor Christian Davenport, that the vast majority of people who died in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide were Hutus. Stam presented his findings last year at the University of Michigan in a speech entitled 'Coming to a New Understanding of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.' Professor Stam's passport to Rwanda has been revoked, but he remains safe in the United States. [...]"
[n.b. Anyone know more about this Stam character? On the face of it, it seems a disgraceful  claim, and I have my concerns about the whole tenor of this article ... but that's why there's a comments box.]

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Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ