The New Times (Kigali)

23 March 2008

Rwanda: New Law to Fight Genocide Ideology

Kigali — Recently, lawmakers voted in a new law aimed to tackle cases of genocide ideology. The draft law was last Friday forwarded to the Senate for scrutiny. Legislators said the law was necessary to help fight the deadly ideology which plunged the country into the 1994 Genocide. The Bill is introduced months after damning revelations that showed cases in which school children demonstrated predisposition to the genocide ideology. The Senate had also found rampant genocide ideology in families, schools and some individuals which sparked the House to react immediately to stop the vice.

The damning revelations of genocide ideology in schools by the lower chamber of Parliament caused an uproar in the House which decided to uproot the vice and save the young generation from contamination.

Under the new law, children under 12 years found guilty will be sent to rehabilitation centres for not more than 12 months.

According to the law, anybody who kills another for ethnic reasons will be jailed for life. There will be no pardon or reduction of sentences for those found guilty.

MP Connie Bwiza says it would not be hard to identify people who harbour the vice in the public.

How the ideology is nurtured Bwiza says that the ideology of genocide is preached in families and other social groupings but to be put into action it must be supported by the State.

Without the support of the government in power, the genocide ideology is kept in the subconscious minds of people.

"The State can decide to teach the bad ideology in schools, churches, social groupings and clubs where certain groups of people are given time to discuss how they should conduct themselves against the other," MP Bwiza explains.

The masses then consume, own, practice and keep it simmering waiting for the signal to put it in action.

Bwiza says the government knows very well how the ideology is spread, that's why it cannot risk the manifestation of any of these things.

Signs of genocide ideology

Bwiza said genocide ideology is manifested in threatening words and actions. It is expressed in references to the past. The MP explained that if one person says to another "we shall kill you again," that is a clear sign of genocide ideology.

Hostile actions including the writing of threatening letters directed at Genocide survivors will be also regarded as harbouring of the vice.

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