Kigali, 18 October 2012
Finally, this Thursday 18 October 2012, 13:00, the Supreme Court of Rwanda dismissed the constitutional review case submitted by political prisoner Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza on grounds of lack of merits. The court panel stated that the genocide ideology laws are clear and there is no conflict with the constitutional freedoms of expression.
FDU-INKINGI Chair Madame Victoire Ingabire, 2012 Sakharov nominee, demanded the supreme court to exclude the law on genocide ideology because it is vague and is used to restrict freedom of expression. The large broad scope of expression that may be proscribed under this law fails to meet constitutional values and international laws.
Many voices have urged the Rwandan government to exclude many abstract and vague aspects of that law used as a political tool against opponents. For example On June 3, 2011, Amnesty International (AI) issued a report titled Unsafe to Speak Out: Restrictions on Freedom of Expression in Rwanda, in which it criticizes the use of that country’s 2008 genocide ideology law and 2009 media law to stifle legitimate criticism and calls upon the Rwandan government to fast track the review process of these laws so that they are in line with Rwanda’s obligations under international law. (AI, Unsafe to Speak Out: Restrictions on Freedom of Expression in Rwanda (June 2011).
By rejecting the review, the supreme court , has paved the way to the High Court to sentence the political prisoner tomorrow on charges relating to forming an armed group with the aim of destabilising the country, complicity to acts of terrorism, conspiracy against the government by use of war and terrorism, inciting the masses to revolt against the government, genocide ideology and divisionism. The prosecutor has requested a life sentence.
Interim Vice president