New law on Genocide ideology will eliminate confusion
A draft law on Genocide ideology and related offences approved in cabinet meeting contains more clarifications on what is understood by Genocide ideology and what the related offences are, aspects which were not clear in the previous law which came into force in 2008.
“The law of 2008 had been being criticised that it was not clear on these issues,” said Odette Yankurije, the principle State Attorney. “Sometimes prosecutors themselves would get confused and judges would in some cases declare the accusation irrelevant.”
Giving an example, Yankurije said the law could not differentiate Genocide ideology and related offences such as minimizing, negating, and justifying the Genocide, but the draft law makes that difference clear.
New in this law is also that punishments for Genocide ideology and related offenses have been reduced; while previously they could amount to 25 years or even life in prison, they will now range from 5 to 9 years plus fines between Frw 100,000 to 1,000,000.
Another new element in the draft law is that the offenses must have been committed in public. “In the 2008 law, one could be held responsible for things that were said in private, which sometimes led to false accusations. This will no longer be the case, since one will be answerable only for public deeds,” said Yankurije.
The draft also stipulates that Genocide denial will not only be punishable for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, but for any such tragedy. For instance, someone denying the Jewish Holocaust can also be held to account.