Self-exiled former Rwanda Prime Minister, Faustin Twagiramungu, has attracted the attention of the prosecution after riling the public with statements that are viewed as denying and minimizing the 1994 Tutsi genocide against the Tutsi.
Twagiramungu who served as Rwanda’s Prime Minister from 1994 to 1995 and now lives in exile in Belgium, usually posts on social media about the ‘double’ genocide in Rwanda and that the 1994 genocide the Tutsi was never prepared, among many other statements.
In 2003, he came back to Rwanda and ran for Presidency as a private candidate and lost, having won 3.62% of votes while President Paul Kagame emerged winner with 95.0%.
The public has been calling for an investigation to examine Twagiramungu’s statements and if need be, be held accountable.
Tom Ndahiro, a Genocide scholar, appealed to Rwanda and Belgium’s criminal investigation organs to open a case against Twagiramungu whose ‘senility has led to severe criminality’.
Tom Ndahiro was referring to a French tweet by Twagiramungu posted on October 20 this year that says that genocides in Africa have taken place in three countries colonized by Belgium in history.
The tweet in case is loosely translated as, “Genocides in Africa have taken place in three countries colonized by Belgium: DRC: 10,000,000 Congolese nationals killed under King Leopold II (1887-1907) + 6,000,000 by Paul Kagama, Rwanda: 1,000,000 killed by FPR and FAR in 1994 and Burundi, 3,000,000 Hutus killed in 1972 by the Tutsi Army”.
Referring to the tweet, the Genocide scholar, Tom Ndahiro tweeted, “I suggest Rwanda’s RIB [Rwanda Investigation Bureau] and Belgium department of criminal investigations should open a case file against this old man whose senility has led him to severe criminality. His denialist discourse is disgusting. His hatred towards genocide survivors and their rescuers is visceral.”
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in charge of the East African Community, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe said, in another tweet, that “It’s very sad to see an old Rwandan politician in his 70s, who miraculously escaped the genocide machine in 1994, who was given an opportunity by the RPF Inkotanyi to serve as Prime Minister, becoming not only a genocide denier but a real lunatic, as time goes by.”
Jean Bosco Mutangana, Rwanda’s Chief Prosecutor, said that the statements by Twagiramungu can lead to crimes of denial and denigration of the 1994 Tutsi genocide.
Mutangana told Taarifa that, “He (Twagiramungu) claims that the genocide was never prepared and that Habyariman’s regime and MRND never planned the genocide. This is contrary to the international court decisions acknowledging that the genocide was planned. Interahamwe militias were trained and the genocide ideology was even taught in schools, and Tutsis were killed for so many years up to 1994.”
Mutangana further said Twagiramungu cannot hide behind what he calls freedom of speech and then say whatever he wants.
“Rwanda’s prosecution will never tolerate those statements. We are going to analyze them, if we find substance worth prosecutable, we will file a case against him. We will work with those countries he lives in as we usually collaborate,” he said.
“We are ready to start an investigation on him, with the country he lives in. If he wants to become a genocide denier, he will be put on a list of criminals to be investigated on genocide negation,” Mutangana added.
The Law on the organisation and functioning of the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA) in its article 3(6), gives Prosecution the responsibility to specifically investigate crimes of genocide ideology and denial.
Supporting a double genocide theory for Rwanda and stating or explaining that genocide committed against the Tutsi was not planned is considered as an offense according to article 5 of the penal code.
Genocide denial contravenes the spirit of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Genocide ideology law punishes the crimes that include denial of genocide, minimization of genocide, and justification of genocide, with term of imprisonment of not less than two years but not exceeding four years, with a fine of not less than Rwf500,000 but not exceeding Rwf1,000,000 for each count.