From the Report:
Following six years of extensive reforms to the conventional justice system, the Rwandan government announced a review of the “genocide ideology” law in April 2010. Amnesty International welcomes this government initiative. This report identifies Amnesty International’s concerns about the current legislation and its application in light of the Rwandan government’s review process.
Prohibiting hate speech is a legitimate aim, but the Rwandan government’s approach violates international human rights law. Rwanda’s vague and sweeping laws against “genocide ideology” and “divisionism” under “sectarianism” laws criminalize speech protected by international conventions and contravene Rwanda’s regional and international human rights obligations and commitments to freedom of expression. The vague wording of the laws is deliberately exploited to violate human rights.
Prosecutions for “genocide ideology” and so-called “genocide ideology-related” offences were brought even before the law defining this offence was promulgated. People continue to be prosecuted for “divisionism”, under “sectarianism” laws, even though “divisionism” is not defined in law. Rwandans, including judges, lawyers and human rights defenders, expressed confusion about what behaviour these laws criminalize.
These broad and ill-defined laws have created a vague legal framework which is misused to criminalize criticism of the government and legitimate dissent. This has included suppressing calls for the prosecution of war crimes committed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). In the run-up to the 2010 elections, legitimate political dissent was conflated with “genocide ideology”, compromising the freedom of expression and association of opposition politicians, human rights defenders and journalists critical of the government.