Rwanda. At year-end, Rwanda's twelve provinces were
converted to four, with names after the weather. According
to CountryAAH, the capital
Kigali forms its own, fifth province. The reason for the
reform was said to be a wish for all provinces to be
ethnically mixed. In addition, some old provincial names
were considered to give unpleasant associations to the 1994
In February, party-free elections were held for local
councils. Subsequently, in several steps indirect elections
to local congregations followed at an ever higher level.
In February, the UN Court of Justice ICTR in Arusha,
Tanzania, acquitted a former minister and a former
provincial governor for involvement in the genocide. It was
the first time a prosecuted minister was found not guilty.
However, prosecutors immediately appealed the acquittal
The ICTR Appellate Division tightened the penalty of 20
years in prison to life for a former mayor, but lowered the
penalty for an army officer from 27 years in prison to 12
Four European countries have declared their willingness
to take over trials from the hard-working UN Court. However,
when prosecutors asked for a Norwegian court to investigate
the former head of Rwanda's tea industry, the answer was no.
Norwegian law is not considered adapted to handle genocide,
and ICTR wanted to avoid that the accused should be able to
escape with an ordinary murder sentence.
Composer Simon Bikindi was brought to trial at ICTR in
September. His lyrics are believed to have helped to
encourage Hutus to participate in the genocide. The songs
were often broadcast on the notorious radio station RTLM
which inspired the genocide through hate propaganda against
the Tutsi minority.
At a Rwandan traditional referendum, a Catholic nun was
sentenced to 30 years in prison for helping Hutumilis kill
Tutsis seeking protection in the hospital where she worked.
ICTR sentenced a Catholic priest to 15 years in prison
for having Hutumilis demolish his parish church and kill the
2,000 Tutsis who sought protection in it.
In October, the ruling party FPR's executive committee
recommended that the death penalty be abolished. If such a
law is adopted, ICTR can begin transferring cases to the
In October, public hearings about France's possible role
in the genocide began. The hearings are led by a committee
of historians, lawyers and militia appointed by the
government in April. France is accused by Rwanda of having
equipped and educated those behind the genocide and of
helping several of the top executives to get out of the
country. In November, Rwanda broke diplomatic relations with
France after a French judge accused President Paul Kagame of
lying behind the 1994 assassination of the then president
that triggered the genocide.