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ARTICLE 19 releases its comment on Genocide Ideology Law

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 1 October 2009 - In a Comment released today, ARTICLE 19 recommends that the "Law Relating to the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Ideology" of Rwanda ("the Genocide Ideology Law") should be repealed in its entirety.

ARTICLE 19's Comment expresses alarm in relation to almost all the provisions of the Genocide Ideology Law which was adopted by the Rwandan Parliament on 23 July 2008. In ARTICLE 19's view, the law's central concept of "genocide ideology" is extremely broadly defined and would catch a whole range of legitimate forms of expression. Indeed, the definition of "genocide ideology" violates international law under the Genocide Convention 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 in multiple ways. Furthermore, numerous provisions on penalties also violate other provisions of international human rights law, notably the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989.

In the Comment, ARTICLE 19 states that "the law is so contrary to international human rights law and humanitarian values that it is fundamentally flawed" and is "counterproductive to its apparent objectives". It goes on to state that "its current application suggests that it presents a catalyst for, rather than a barrier against, future human rights atrocities in Rwanda".

Given the law's fundamental flaws, ARTICLE 19 recommends that Rwanda's legislature simply repeal the law in its entirety, refrain from adopting a similar law in the future and fully implement Rwanda's actual obligations under international human rights treaties.

To view ARTICLE 19's Comment on the Law Relating to the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Ideology in Rwanda, click here

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