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Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/16/2022 - 15:26
Jambo asbl congratulates the Belgian legislator for having reached a balanced provision on the very sensitive question of denial of the "Rwandan Genocide" (1). In October 2017, Jambo asbl submitted a series of observations to the Belgian legislator on what it considered to be serious implications of a proposed law that aimed to specifically repress the denial of the genocide against the Tutsi, perpetrated from April to July 1994. The proposed law was modeled according to a similar Rwandan law and, if passed, could have had serious adverse consequences even here in Belgium, including the following:
  • The transgenerational stigmatization of certain groups of Rwandans f (Hutu in this case)
  • The cover-up of mass crimes committed against Rwandans in the same decade (perpetrated by RPF soldiers)
  • The instrumentalization of the law as a weapon of intimidation and political repression (as it was the case against political opponent Victoire Ingabire)
  • Use of the law as a mean to silence any critical voice to the regime in place, such as human rights organizations, journalists, researchers or even ordinary citizens who wish to tell their personal story
Jambo asbl, having closely followed the evolution of the debate, is delighted to note that all of its concerns were addressed in the new text that was adopted in the plenary session on Thursday April 25th, which received 69 votes for, 4 votes against and 58 abstentions. Indeed, the Belgian legislator has decided to add a provision known as "generic" to its legislative arsenal, which will punish anyone who: "Denies, trivializes, seeks to justify or approves facts consistent with a crime of genocide, a crime against humanity or a war crime as referred to in Article 136quater of the Criminal Code, established as such by a final decision of an international court, knowing or expected to know that such conduct is likely to expose a person, group, community or its members, to discrimination, hatred or violence ". By referring to judicial truth established by an International Jurisdiction, this generic definition will indeed limit the abuses that Jambo asbl had cautioned about in its October 2017 submission (2) that concerned the labeling of negationism as solely hateful or inciting violence. More concretely, in the case of Rwanda, the new provision refers de facto to the verdicts rendered by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and should therefore allow:
  • to protect the memory of victims and survivors of the genocide against Tutsi from hatred, discrimination or violence
  • to avoid the transgenerational stigmatization of Hutu
  • investigations of unsolved cases (such as the attack against the Presidential aircraft) to continue, as well as investigations on other mass crimes committed during the same period (war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide as identified by the Mapping Report (2))
  • human rights associations, journalists and researchers to be able to conduct their work without being labeled genocide deniers.
Thus, Jambo asbl would like to thank the Belgian legislator for finding a balanced solution to such a sensitive issue in the case of Rwanda. Done in Brussels, April 26, 2019 For Jambo asbl Gustave Mbonyumutwa Chairman of the Board
  1. Limited to Tutsi victims only, as a result of UN General Assembly decision to requalify the "Rwandan Genocide" into "Genocide against Tutsi" on 26 January 2018
  3. Report also quoted by Dr. Denis MUKWEGE during his address at the Nobel Peace Prize 2018 ceremony:
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