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US 'Deeply Concerned' About Rwandan Arrests

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Rwandan authorities under fire

The United States of America today voiced deep concern about the ongoing detentions and arrests in Rwanda.

Washington has accused Rwandan authorities for the disappearance of citizens over the past two months.

Washington also voiced concern that individual journalists were threatened, and that the Government of Rwanda ordered the suspension of a call-in radio program that provided citizens with a platform to discuss current events.

memo
Nyamata Genocide Memorial, Rwanda. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

"The United States calls upon the Government of Rwanda to account for individuals arrested over the past two months and currently in custody, and to respect the rights under Rwandan law and international human rights law of the individuals detained and arrested," State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf said.

In addition, Washington also urged Rwanda to fully respect freedom of expression, including for members of the press so that they can probe, report, and facilitate discussion on issues of public concern.

Amid the accusation, the Rwandan government expressed strong opposition to the criticism. The government explained that the move was a response to threats from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The group consists of remnants of the Hutu group linked to the 1994 genocide where at least 800,000 Tutsis died.

Rwandan Genocide Organizers Sentenced To Life

In December 2011, two key organizers of the Rwandan genocide in 1994 were sentenced to life in prison by the United Nations tribunal dealing with war crimes in the country.

Édouard Karemera and Matthieu Ngirumpatse, both senior members of the ruling party in Rwanda during the genocide, were found guilty of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity, rape and sexual assault as crimes against humanity, and killings as causing violence to health and physical or mental well-being.

The International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) delivered its judgment after finding that both men were members of a "joint criminal enterprise" to destroy the Tutsi population of Rwanda, and consequently liable not only for their own criminal acts and omissions, but also for those committed by others within the common purpose of the enterprise.

ICTR also ruled that they bear extended liability for the widespread rapes and sexual assaults of Tutsi women and girls, which were a foreseeable consequence of their joint criminal enterprise.

The 1994 Rwandan genocide claimed 800,000 lives. Mostly those belonging to the Tutsi tribe were slaughtered but machetes also slashed many moderate Hutus who called for peaceful coexistence. The official history claims that the genocide, like tsunamis or tornadoes, could have neither be predicted nor prevented.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain english. Read more stories by Mina Fabulous. Contact Mina through NewsBlaze.

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