Criminal defense lawyers dispute Rwanda’s genocide history

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The ad hoc organizing committee of the Second International Criminal Defense Conference being held in Brussels on May 21-23 thanked Rwandan Chief Prosecutor Martin Ngoga and Kigali’s New Times for publicizing their efforts.

This week, as the conference dates approached, The New Times published several articles condemning it and quoting Ngoga saying, “For a few years now, some defense lawyers at the ICTR have badly deviated from their professional duties and turned into activists and advocates of genocide denial.”

Ngoga and The New Times thus drew international attention to the significance of the conference to the ongoing struggle over disputed histories of Rwanda’s 1994 tragedy and related violence in Central Africa, both before and since.

Last week Ngoga warned leading opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire that she might be jailed once again if she continues speaking to the press. The election is scheduled for Aug. 9. Ingabire has not been allowed to register to formally run against Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The ad hoc conference organizing committee also said that they are defending the right to freedom of speech and thought and expect the conference to be a non-disruptive exchange of ideas that would be subjected to public critique and historical and scientific evaluation, as the ideas exchanged at the November 2009 Hague Conference on the Legacy of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda were....

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