Rwanda has a population of 12.3 million (2018). Rwanda continues to be praised for an orderly economy and
low corruption, but the political climate is hardening.
During the first months of the year, at least three people
were killed and about sixty were injured in a number of hand
grenade attacks in the capital Kigali. The government placed
responsibility on former army chief Faustin Kayumba
Nyamwasa, who moved to South Africa. He was shot in June in
an attempted murder outside his home in Johannesburg.
Journalist Jean Léonard Rugambage, whose website newspaper
Umuvugizi hinted at the regime's involvement in the murder
trial, was murdered shortly thereafter. The police
investigation concluded that he had fallen victim to a
revenge attack linked to the 1994 genocide.
In July, a leading representative of one of several
unregistered opposition parties was also found murdered.
Several opposition parties had been denied applications for
official registration prior to the presidential election.
The usual explanation was that they spread a hateful
ideology, that is, spread to the views of the Hutu majority.
Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the United
Democratic Party, was arrested by police both before and
after the presidential election - in which she was not
allowed to stand - and charged with cooperating with the
terrorist organization and denying the genocide.
Before the election, the authorities closed several
opposition newspapers and radio stations. The Reporters
Without Borders organization classified Rwanda as one of the
ten countries that most violated media freedom.
In the absence of real opposition, President Paul Kagame
got 93 percent of the vote in the August election. Victoire
Ingabire, at that time on the loose, urged the outside world
not to recognize the election result. Observers from the
Commonwealth found the absence of opposition candidates
In March, former President's wife Agathe Habyarimana was
arrested in France, the days after President Nicolas Sarkozy
visited Rwanda to repair relations between the countries.
Habyarimana, considered one of the brains behind the
genocide, was brought to safety by French soldiers in 1994
and has since lived in France. For the rest of the year, she
fought hard in the courts to avoid extradition to Rwanda.
The UN-backed ICTR court in Tanzania is still
investigating suspected Rwandan war criminals and sentenced
several long prison sentences during the year. An undercover
man charged in 2001 was arrested in Uganda during the year
and extradited to ICTR. The Court still has a list of ten
people searched worldwide.
In Finland, a Rwandan war criminal was sentenced to life
imprisonment. A 54-year-old Rwandan who Sweden decided to
extradite to his home country was allowed to remain in
custody pending a decision by the European Court of Justice
on possible extradition.