By David Himbara
Kagame, if you are offended by the special treatment given to you by Article 236 of the Penal Code, you should also be offended by the special treatment given to you by the Constitution. Article 114 exempts you from facing justice for treasonous crimes.
General Paul Kagame claims that he objects to the Supreme Court’s decision to grant him special legal protection from defamation and public insult. This, after the Supreme Court, upheld Article 236 of the Penal Code which reads:
”Any person who insults or defames the President of the Republic, commits an offence. Upon conviction, he/she is liable to a term imprisonment of not less than five (5) years and not more than seven (7) years and a fine of more than five million (FRW 5,000,000) Rwandan francs and not more than seven million (FRW 7,000,000) Rwandan francs.”
Kagame’s objections to the retention of Article 236 were made public in an unsigned statement from his office. The statement reads:
”The President of the Republic respects the independence of the judiciary and the recent Supreme Court decision to decriminalise the offences related to humiliation of public officials…The President, however, takes issue with the decision to retain as criminal offenses, insults or defamation against the Head of State, who is also a public official…His position has always been that this should be a civil, not a criminal matter”.
If Kagame is offended by the special treatment accorded to him by Article 236 of the Penal Code, he should also be offended by the special treatment given to him by the Constitution. I am referring to Article 114 which exempts a former president from justice for treasonous crimes.