국제앰네스티는 8월 31일 발간된 보고서를통해 르완다 정부가 “파벌주의”와 “집단살해 이념”법과 같은 모호한 법률을 통해 정치적 반대자를 억누르고 언론의 자유를 억제하고 있다고 전했다.
국제앰네스티의 보고서 “침묵이 안전이다: 르완다‘집단살해 이념’과 ‘파벌주의’ 관련법의 무서운 결과”는 이 법률의 모호한 문안이 야당 정치인, 인권 활동가, 언론인들을 억압하는데 사용되고 있는지 보여준다.
국제앰네스티 어윈 반 데르 보르그트(Erwin van der Borght) 아프리카국 국장은 이와 관련해 “집단살해 이념”과 “파벌주의”법 의 애매함은 르완다 사람들이 잘못 말하면 처벌받을 수 있다는 공포 속에 살게 하고 있다. 대부분의 사람들은 침묵하기로 결정한다”라고 말했다.
국제앰네스티는 르완다 사람들, 특히 변호사와 인권 활동가를 포함한 르완다 법률에 관한 전문 지식인들 조차도 “집단살해 이념”을 분명히 정의 할 수 없다는 것을 발견 했다. 심지어 판사들과 같이 법을 적용하는 사람들 또한 이 법들이 애매하고 추상적 이라고 말한다.
국제앰네스티는 혐오발언(hate speech)을 막는 것은 바람직한 의도이나 르완다 정부가 취하는 태도는 국제법 위반이라고 밝혔다.
VAGUE LAWS USED TO CRIMINALISE CRITICISM OF GOVERNMENT IN RWANDA
31 August 2010Rwanda’s new government must urgently review vague “genocide ideology” and “sectarianism” laws that are being used to suppress political dissent and stifle freedom of speech, Amnesty International said in a report released on Tuesday.
Safer to Stay Silent: The Chilling Effect of Rwanda’s Laws on ‘Genocide Ideology’ and ‘Sectarianism’ details how the vague wording of these laws is misused to criminalize criticism of the government and legitimate dissent by opposition politicians, human rights activists and journalists.
“The ambiguity of the ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ law means Rwandans live in fear of being punished for saying the wrong thing,” said Erwin van der Borght, Africa Programme director at Amnesty International. “Most take the safe option of staying silent.” Amnesty International found that many Rwandans, even those with specialist knowledge of Rwandan law including lawyers and human rights workers, were unable to precisely define “genocide ideology”. Even judges, the professionals charged with applying the law, noted that the law was broad and abstract.
In the lead-up to the 9 August presidential elections two opposition candidates were arrested and charged, among other things, with “genocide ideology”. A newspaper editor was also arrested on the same charge.
The BBC and VOA have both been accused of disseminating “genocide ideology” by the government. These accusations led to the suspension of the BBC Kinyarwanda service for two months from April 2009.
At a local level individuals appear to use “genocide ideology” accusations to settle personal disputes. These laws allow for the criminal punishment even of young children under 12, as well as parents, guardians or teachers convicted of “inoculating” a child with “genocide ideology”. Sentences for convicted adults range from 10 to 25 years imprisonment.
The “genocide ideology” and “sectarianism” laws were introduced to restrict speech that could promote hatred in the decade following the 1994 genocide.
Up to 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the genocide, mostly ethnic Tutsi, but also Hutu who opposed the organized killing.
Amnesty International said that prohibiting hate speech is a legitimate aim, but the approach used by the Rwandan Government has violated international law.
The Rwandan government announced a review of the “genocide ideology” law in April 2010.
Amnesty International said that the government should also launch a review of the “sectarianism” law and demonstrate a new approach to freedom of expression in order to stem the chilling effect of past legislation.
The organization said that the Rwandan government must significantly amend the laws, publicly express a commitment to freedom of expression, review past convictions and train police and prosecutors on how to investigate accusations.
“We hope that the government review will result in a meaningful revision of the ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws so that freedom of expression is protected both on paper and in practice,” said Erwin van der Borght.