Rwanda 2002

Yearbook 2002

Rwanda. At the UN tribunal in Arusha, the trial of some of the supreme culprits for the 1994 genocide, including Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, was appointed as the leading organizer of the massacre of 800,000 people.

According to Countryaah website, national day of Rwanda is every July 1. Former Minister of Information Eliezer Niyitegeka, who is responsible for the state media’s campaign against Tutsis, was also brought to justice. The Catholic priest Athanase Seromba, who for five years has remained hidden there with the help of the church, was handed out from Italy. He was accused of letting excavators demolish a church in Nyange, where a few thousand Tutsis sought protection. In August, the commander of the genocide regime Augustin Bizimungu was arrested in Angola. Like Seromba, he was sent to the Arusha court.

Rwanda Border Countries Map

The UN tribunal was strengthened by an additional 18 judges. The 16 ordinary judges still had not even reached ten trials and had 60 people awaiting trial. In order to carry out the trials until 2008, the UN gave courts in other countries the right to try and convict Rwandans arrested there, provided that the laws of these countries allow the trial of genocide and crimes against humanity wherever the crimes have been committed. A condition is also that the UN Court always has the last word.

In Rwanda, the newly formed so-called gacaca courts, a revived traditional legal system, began the process of quickly investigating the 115,000 people who have been awaiting trial since 1994.

In the fall, Rwanda took home its 20,000 soldiers from Congo-Kinshasa. They had officially been sent there to prevent the hutumilies behind the genocide from re-attacking Rwanda.

In August, a census was conducted, the first in Rwanda’s history where ethnic belonging was not recorded.

A December 2015 referendum voted 98.3% to change the constitution that allowed President Kagame to run for a third term in 2017. However, the president had not announced whether he wanted to stand. The EU and the US criticized the vote.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) completed its work by the end of 2015. Prior to that, a number of convictions of war criminals had been handed down. But there were also those who went free. In October, a French court indicted the genocide accused Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and provided a pretext for missing evidence. Munyeshyaka was a priest in the capital of Kigali in 1994 and is accused of participating in murder and rape during the genocide, and of helping the Interahamwe militia identify Tutsis who were subsequently raped and killed.

By the end of 2015, 70,000 refugees from Burundi were living in Rwanda. They had fled the crisis in the neighboring country.

The Democratic Green Party declared in March 2016 that it would not stand for a candidate for the 2017 presidential election unless a series of political and electoral reforms were implemented. In September, authorities rejected those claims. The party then chose to put its chairman, Dr Frank Habineza, as presidential candidate anyway.

Also in March, the UN Human Rights Council published the result of its periodic review (UPR) of the situation in Rwanda. The country accepted the Council’s recommendations on freedom of thought and expression, and also promised to improve its policy towards human rights activists. In June, civil society authorities and donors published a roadmap for implementing the recommendations.