Rwanda. Four Rwandans were sentenced in June by a Belgian court to between 12 and 20 years in prison for participating in the 1994 genocide. Among those convicted were two Catholic nuns. According to Belgian law, the country’s courts can try human rights violations no matter where the crimes were committed. In October, Belgium extradited Protais Zigiranyirazo, brother-in-law of former R President Juvénal Habyarimana and one of the main suspects of the genocide. He was handed over to the UN Criminal Court in Arusha, Tanzania.
The first six Rwandans who got their sentences set by the UN High Court were flown to Bamako in Mali in December, where they will serve their sentences. Among them was former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda.
Since its inception in 1994, the UN Court has only been able to deliver a handful of judgments. In the courts of Rwanda, the judicial process has gone faster. Nearly 6,000 people have been tried and just over 500 have been sentenced to death. But still, 115,000 genocide suspects are being held in overcrowded prisons. At the current rate, it would take more than a century to investigate everyone. In October, therefore, about a quarter of a million people were selected, who after elementary legal training will act as judge in quick trials. The idea is a revival of a pre-colonial system, called gacaca, which was then used to resolve local disputes. Although it was considered necessary to speed up the judicial process, many doubted the possibility of “barefoot judges” to give real justice in such a complex case as genocide.
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The old instigators of the genocide, the Hutu extremist militias, are still active. During the summer, the army fought back several attempts by the militia to enter Rwanda from neighboring Congo (Kinshasa), where they took refuge in 1994. The army claimed that it killed some 1,800 militiamen and captured thousands.
In an effort to reconcile, Rwanda received a new flag and a national anthem on the last day of the year. Colors and text, respectively, were intended to symbolize national unity, without any hint of ethnic groups.
According to Countryaah, the population of Rwanda in 2001 was 8,840,104, ranking number 89 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.190% yearly, and the population density was 358.3387 people per km2.