Participatory Rights in Rwanda: Genocide Ideology Laws and the Future of Political Space

  • Fred Cowell


Over the last ten years Rwanda has enjoyed a period of rapid economic growth and comparatively strong political stability. During this period however there has been a sharp deterioration in civil and political rights in the country.


Presidential Election Free Speech Hate Speech Opposition Parti Parliamentary Election 
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Books and journal articles

  1. Beswick, D. (2010) ‘Managing Dissent in a Post-genocide Environment: The Challenge of Political Space in Rwanda’, Development and Change, 41 (2), 225–51.Google Scholar
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  12. Prunier, G. (1999) Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (Kampala: Fountain Publishers).Google Scholar
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  14. Reyntjens, F. (2006) ‘Post-1994 Politics in Rwanda: Problematising “Liberation” and “Democratisation”’, Third World Quarterly, 27 (6), 1103–17.Google Scholar
  15. Steward, J. (2008) ‘Only Healing Heals: Concepts and Methods of Psycho-social Healing in Post-genocide Rwanda’, in P. Clark and Z. Kaufman (eds), After Genocide; Transitional Justice, Post Conflict Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (London: Hurst & Company), 171–90.Google Scholar
  16. Waldorf, L. (2007) Censorship and Propaganda in Post-genocide Rwanda (Ottawa: International Development and Research Centre), at: cide/ev-108305–201-1-DO_TOPIC.html#ch33not6
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Newspapers and press releases

  1. Barouski, D. (2010) ‘Rwandan Constitutional Law and the Oppression of Political Opposition and Dissidents’, taken from World News Journal, zNet, 11 November.Google Scholar
  2. Economist, The (2010) ‘Efficiency versus Freedom’, 5 August.Google Scholar
  3. HRW (Human Rights Watch) (2011) ‘Rwanda: Prison Term for Opposition Leader’, 11 February, at: term-opposition-leaderGoogle Scholar
  4. IFEX (2009) ‘Government Suspends BBC Radio Service For “Unacceptable Speech” in Programme on Genocide’, 29 April, at: Scholar
  5. Mugabe, A. (2010) ‘August 09, 2010 - A Citizen’s Weekly Open Letter to General Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda’, published on Rwanda Human Rights and Democracy, at: Scholar
  6. Mgbako, C. (2010) ‘Manipulating the Memory of the Rwandan Genocide’, Pazambuka, 22 July, at: www.pambazuka.orgGoogle Scholar
  7. Munyaneza, J. (2010) ‘RSF’s Approach Detrimental to Media’, The New Times, Kigali, 12 May.Google Scholar
  8. New Times, The (2009) ‘BBC Kinyarwanda Back on Air’, Kigali, 24 June.Google Scholar
  9. Permanent Consultative Council of Opposition Parties (2010), Open Letter, The Secretary General, East African Community Secretariat, 7 July, published on the African Great Lakes Democracy Watch Blog, at:
  10. RSF (Reporters without Borders) (2010) ‘Around Thirty Press Outlets Closed a Few Days Ahead of the Presidential Election’, 2 August, at:–08-2010,38076.htmlGoogle Scholar
  11. Rwanda News Agency (2010a) ‘Kagame Says Criticism of Genocide Law is Nonsense’, published in Global Research, 15 February, at:
  12. Rwanda News Agency (2010b) ‘Umueso, Umuvugizi Newspapers Suspended’, from World News Journal, 13 April, at:

Official reports

  1. African Union (2004) ‘Report of Promotional Mission Undertaken by Commissioner Mohamed Abdellahi Ould Babana in Rwanda’ (responsible for Rwanda within the African Commission, the Commissioner undertook a promotional mission to Rwanda from 26 January to 2 February 2004).Google Scholar
  2. Amnesty International (2004) Rwanda: The Enduring Legacy of the Genocide and War (London: Amnesty International), August, at:
  3. Amnesty International (2010) Safer to Stay Silent: The Chilling Effect of Rwanda’s Laws on ‘Genocide Ideology’ and Sectarianism (London: Amnesty International).Google Scholar
  4. Article 19 (2009) ‘Comment on the Law Relating to the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Ideology of Rwanda’ (London: Article 19), at: of-the-crime-of-genocid.pdf
  5. Article 19 (2011) Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review for consideration at the tenth session of the UPR Working Group, January–February.Google Scholar
  6. European Union Election Observation Mission (2008) Republic of Rwanda: Legislative Elections to the Chamber of Deputies, 15–18 September 2008: Final Report, at:
  7. HRW (Human Rights Watch) (2008) Law and Reality: Progress in Judicial Reform in Rwanda (New York: Human Rights Watch).Google Scholar


  1. Garaudy v France, Admissibility Decision (Application No. 65831/01) Fourth Section, European Court of Human Rights, 24 June 2003.Google Scholar
  2. UNHCR (2000a) United Nations Human Rights Committee, Comments by the Republic of Korea on the Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Republic of Korea. 04/05/2000, Human Rights Committee 69th Sess, CCPR/C/79/Add.122 7 (4 May 2000).Google Scholar
  3. UNHCR (2000b) Malcolm Ross v. Canada, CCPR/C/70/D/736/1997, UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), 26 October 2000.Google Scholar

Legislation: Republic of Rwanda

  1. 2003 Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.Google Scholar
  2. Law No. 18/2002 of 11/05/2002 governing the press, O.G. no. 13/2002.Google Scholar
  3. Law No. 18/2002 of 11/05/2005, Governing the Press, Chapter III ‘National Press Council’ contains no reference to appeals or remedies that can be brought against the Press Council. Judicial Review is allowed for in the 2003 Rwanda Constitution under article, but is rarely utilised in these cases.Google Scholar
  4. Law No. 18/2008 of 23/07/2008 relating to the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Ideology (referred to as the Genocide Ideology Law).Google Scholar
  5. Official Gazette No. 3 of 01/02/2004, Organic Law No. 01/2004 of 29/01/2004 Establishing the Organization Functioning and Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court aimed at creating a more accessible justice system.Google Scholar
  6. Official Gazette No. 3 of 01/02/2004, Organic Law No. 07/2004 of 25/04/2004 Determining Organization, Functioning and Jurisdiction of the Courts of the Republic of Rwanda.Google Scholar

Confidential interviews

  1. A series of interviews conducted by the author with members of the Green Party and the FDU, November 2010. The transcripts are held on file by the author.Google Scholar
  2. A series of confidential interviews with human rights workers in Kigali in May 2010 by the author and the other human rights workers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Fred Cowell 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred Cowell

There are no affiliations available

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