The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
Examination of State Reports 9th session, March 1991


The representative of Rwanda, Premier Avocat-Général Mubenzi, began his presentation with some corrections to the report of Rwanda. He then explained the system of ethnic quotas applied in Rwanda, giving examples from the educational system. He emphasized that the quota system is an attempt by the Government to restore social "equilibrium" following a history of ethnic inequities.

Premier Avocat-Général Mubenzi pointed out that the independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by the Rwanda Constitution, and although judges are appointed by the President of the Republic, they are recommended by other magistrates.

Commissioner Nguema, the Special Rapporteur for the report of Rwanda, was of the opinion that the system of quotas according to ethnic groups could be described as racial discrimination, and that such a policy endangered the independence of the judiciary as well. He inquired as to the existence of checks on the executive power which would guarantee the protection of human rights if the Government initiated policies in violation of such rights.

Commissioner Badawi requested more detail on the implementation of economic, social, and cultural rights in Rwanda, including any difficulties encountered. He also asked for an outline of the different types of courts in Rwanda and the organization of the bar, with reference to the right to be heard.

He evoked the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and Article 2 of the African Charter, and noted that measures designed to help one ethnic group could be oppressive to others, and requested more information on the purposes and objectives of the Rwandan quota system.

Chairman Umozurike asked if the Charter was still a useful guide for policies and programmes of the Rwandan Government, given the state of conflict in the country.

Premier Avocat-Général Mugenzi responded by saying that the Rwandan Constitution assigns the judiciary with the role of custodian of public liberties. He outlined the court system of Rwanda, composed of regional tribunals, provincial courts, courts of appeal, and the Privy Council. He explained that there is no organized bar in Rwanda, but that the right to defence is assured by a 1964 act concerning assistance and representation in court.

He expressed the opinion that the International Convention on all Forms of Racial Discrimination could be used in defence of the quota system in Rwanda, and reiterated the commitment of the Government of Rwanda to strive for adherence to the principles of the African Charter.

Commissioner Mubanga-Chipoya noted that although the African Charter recognized group rights in Articles 19-16, it is quite clear that the rights of individuals should also be respected. In his opinion, the ethnic quota system in Rwanda amounts to racial discrimination, and is thus in conflict with the African Charter.

Commissioner Badawi cautioned against judging Rwanda too hastily and pointed out that each Commissioner, at this stage in the examination, spoke only for himself. He requested additional information from Rwanda on the quota system, and expressed his hopes that the possibility for a dialogue would be maintained.

Chairman Umozurike expressed discomfort with the fact that Commissioners were disagreeing in the presence of the state representative, and pointed out that the Commission would have further opportunity to discuss the matter later.

Premier Avocat-Général Mugenzi took the floor to once more defend the ethnic quota system and to analogize it to the policy of the Goverment to work for equality for women.

Commissioner Nguema noted that problems of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity are found all over Africa, and that all African Governments have an obligation to combat it. He congratulated the Rwandan representative for his honesty and the frankness of the report. He commended the recent decision to delete reference to tribal origin on the national ID cards, but he said that as Rwanda is in a state of war, resulting from long-standing tribal conflicts, the Goverment had to take steps to resolve the root of the problem, and that education and educational policies would be instrumental in this.

Chairman Umozurike concluded by saying that the examination of the report of Rwanda had been very interesting. He reiterated that the situation in Rwanda is not unique, and he recognized that solutions would have to take into account the federal nature of the country.



Okay, ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome you, your Excellency.. I do not think it is an ambassador. You have been with us from the very beginning. We are happy that you have been with us and you are welcome to this session that considers your Periodic Report. We have asked one of us to have a special look at your report, so we would ask him to introduce or you to introduce your report, and then our discussion will be led by him and the rest of us could come in as it becomes necessary. So would you speak first?


The delegation of Rwanda thanks you most sincerely for having been given this opportunity to bring further clarification to the initial report submitted by Rwanda on the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights.

First of all, I should like to make some corrections. There are some drafting mistakes in the document - on the references which have been provided. This is page 9 of the report, paragraph 1, where it is stated 'which is met with Articles, principles 1 and 5' I would like to add; 'Article 3' so: Articles 2, 3 and 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

In the following paragraph, the Article on the reference, Article 14 should be replaced by Article 15. In paragraph 4, there is also a slight error: Article 23 has to be deleted so it would read, moreover, Article 24 and 25 and delete Article 23. And finally, in the following paragraph, where it is stated that the Rwandese Constitution guarantees the right to education, incorporates Article 27. These are the corrections I wish to make for a better understanding of the text. For the rest and the principles enunciated in the report, the rest of the report remains as it stands.

Concerning the questions or observations which were provided, or rather which were put to the state: I would like to speak about the first observation, what the Rapporteur has called racial separation. He explained that a situation of racial separation is being noted in Rwanda, because of an institution of a quota system, and he did underscore that this was an institutionalized situation. I should like to stress here that Rwanda is against any situation which would lead to any form of discrimination, and throughout the report, especially on page 9, we say that the Rwandan Constitution guarantees equality before the law and prohibit any form of discrimination as well as slavery. And you will find this in Article 16 and 17. It is out the question to carry out any form of discrimination.

The problem according to me is a problem of interpretation of a situation. The institutionalized situation in Rwanda which only aims at social justice in all areas, this is the situation of the search for an equilibrium. If we make a flashback, and if we look at the history of our country, we can see that the social revolution of 1959 was the result of an oppression of a certain social group by another social group. And a group which was oppressed was the majority group. I would like to give you the proportions and tell you that in Rwanda there are three ethnic groups; there are the Hutus, 85 percent or 84 percent, the Tutsis 14 percent, the Tutsis and the Tua 20 pc. So you can see that the revolution I mentioned in 1959 was a revolution which was against the situation where a minority of 14 percent oppressed the majority. This is why in line with the pursuance of the revolution, we realized that this injustice should not be perpetuated and that there should be a certain balance, a certain equilibrium, in order to set up social justice. And I am not informing of anything new, I believe.

Let us talk about the school system. A very small number of pupils finish primary school and go on to secondary school, so somewhere we have to say that our means are limited and a certain number of students should accede to secondary schools and to the various other infrastructure of education. So it would be abnormal that all of these pupils admitted would come from only one ethnic group. And the policy of the Government would like to see to it that representation should be reflected - ethnic representation should be reflected in admission to the schools.

We thought that it would be abnormal, for example, in a class of 100 pupils to have 100 Hutus and no Tutsis at all, or vice versa. This is impossible - so in a nutshell, as was said by Rapporteur Nguema, such a policy of equilibrium is nothing we hide. It may be a problem of interpretation, but the Government's policy is based on the fact that the attainment of equilibrium and balance in distribution of facilities would enhance social justice, so that no group is oppressed or disadvantaged in one area or the other. This is how I explain the situation. It has been qualified as racial discrimination. I am saying it is not any sort of racial separation, it is a manner of dealing with the situation, and the Government believes that it is dealing with the situation by striving for balance and equilibrium for the sake of social justice.

The other question that was raised was as regards the texts. I should say that the principle of equilibrium is well reflected in our manifesto for the movement for economic and social development. And on the basis of the various legislative texts, for example, governing the national education, this social justice is reflected and striven for in the area of education as well, and therefore it is reflected in the law for national education. I hope I have been clear about the need for social balance and justice.

The other question was on the manner in which we ensure the independence of the magistrature in Rwanda. On this one, I should socially like to say that independence of the magistrature is asserted by the Rwandan Constitution and other texts such as the Status of the Magistrature. But indeed certain measures have been taken, in actual fact to reassert the independence of the Magistrature. It is thus that as far as the career of magistrates is concerned, even if the Rwandese magistrates are appointed by the President of the Republic, it is our law in fact that it is the Supreme Council of the Magistrature composed of magistrates themselves who have recommended appointments to the President of the Republic. The other principles that are in the text such as irremovability, but this of course is not fully obtained as such, but the moving of magistrates at least from headquarters is done on the basis of consultative opinion from the Council of the Magistrature.

For the other questions regarding the magistrature, once a magistrate is seized with a case, he is guided by the law and by his own conscience. He receives no injunctions or instructions from any quarter. I believe that that is a cornerstone so far as the independence of the magistrate is concerned. In other words, the independence of the magistrature of Rwanda is asserted by the Constitution and reasserted by the magistratical texts, for example the text on the status of the Magistrature and the Code concerning legal competence. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.


I thank you very much, representative of Rwanda for presenting your report. I would no ask Mr. Nguema to lead the discussion on that report.


I thank you, Mr. Chairman. I should first of all like to say that as far as the responses I have heard are concerned, I should like to know whether, if there were to be a change in the Presidency in Rwanda today, and that change brings in a person from the other ethnic group, whether the same principles would be retained or whether things will change to the better status of the ethnic group of the person in the Presidency. In other words, whether the in-coming ethnic group will therefore get the lion's share.

In other words, there is actually a problem of a minority co-existing with a majority, or a majority and a minority. In all African countries, there is a plurality of ethnic groups and there are ethnic groups, therefore, that are in the majority and others in the minority. If in Rwanda this separation as you call it, and I call it discrimination, is to be enshrined in legal texts, I do not know how the applicability of the texts is to be conceived in the future. I believe at any rate that such texts should be abolished and the Rwandese treated by virtue of their personal capacities and not on the basis of their ethnic affiliation. This is why I believe the Commission should draw the attention of the Rwandan authorities on this issue.

You have talked about the independence of the magistrature, of course if in the court of magistrates there is a majority of Hutus and the head of state is a Hutu what sort of instruction would you expect the President to give to the magistrature? It is the same system as in South Africa - all the magistrates are white, and if there are independent magistrates in Africa, I believe that the South African magistrates are the most independent of them all, because they do not receive any instruction at all from the executive power. And yet we know that it is not justice that is proffered in South Africa, we have information about capital punishment on the basis of a summary judgment. The majority is black, but there is no formal instruction given by the executive to the magistrature.

So I am afraid that we are dealing with the same kind of situation there, in Rwanda, and such a situation is not in conformity with the stipulations of our Charter, so that situation needs to be reviewed. In the future, with the tremendous intercourse of people in Africa it may be difficult for Rwanda to say who is really Hutu and who is really Tutsi. So that this particular issue warrants for the examination.

Now, I shall raise the question I raised earlier on: in the event of a violation of the Constitution by a regulation, a rule or a law, is there any mechanism that is provided for to resolve or to redress such a situation? If the executive were to trample upon its own legislation, its own laws, its own texts, if there are violations of human rights, are there any legal mechanisms that are provided for to resolve such problems?


... you will take our contributions and reply to all of them at the same time. Have any Commissioners anything to add? Dr. Badawi?


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I should first of all like to associate myself with the preceding speaker, to express gratitude to the Government of Rwanda, for the care and desire it has demonstrated about cooperating with our Commission. Such a desire is translated in the report that is tabled, and the presence of the representative of the Government of Rwanda. I also wish to seize the opportunity of certain remarks made on the Rwandese report to make my comments. The report says that there are a certain number of things that have been done by Rwanda on the implementation of a certain number of Articles of the African Charter. For example, there is reference here to attainments in the area of education, and in the area of sensitization of the people about human rights.

I would have liked to ensure that the delegation of Rwanda enlightens us of problems encountered by the Rwandan delegation in detail about the implementation of economic, cultural and social rights. It is unquestionable that if we are able to circumscribe such problems, the Commission may be useful to the Government in assisting the latter about fulfilling its obligation to the people by virtue of various articles of the African Charter. If there are problems, encountered by the Rwandese Government I believe the Commission should be informed so that cooperation with the Government of Rwanda is enhanced.

I am sure there various problems here and there in implementation of the various Articles of the Charter for human rights. We may be in a position to make recommendations to the Rwandan Government and secure our systems properly through the various organizations through which we cooperate and through the Organization African Unity as such.

This having been said, I should like to point out Article 7 of the Charter which talks about the right of a person to be heard. Such a right must be guaranteed by law, Article 7 enlists the various guarantees for the individual citizen. Probably the Rwandese delegation should give us explanations about the various types of tribunals that are in Rwanda, and whether such tribunals obey the same legislations in terms of right to appeal etc. etc. May the Rwandese delegation also give us information about the manner in which the bar is organized, because I believe certain difficulties have been pointed out in terms of the organization of the bar, whether my impression is correct?

The last remark I should like to make regards the implementation of Article 2 of the Charter. The Charter of African Human and Peoples' Rights - this having been said, I should like to express deference about the candid manner in which the delegation of Rwanda has explained the policy that is in force in Rwanda in terms of treating the various ethnic groups. The Rwandan delegation talked about equilibrium, balance, and social justice and in this context it may be a good thing that the Rwandan delegation goes into detail to help the Commission get a better grasp of the situation in Rwanda.

I should like to evoke here the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Convention stipulates equality of rights for all citizens without distinction of race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion. Measures may be taken to address the situation for what ethnic group, that both measures could be seen as oppressive for ethnic groups, although one might call it positive or negative or actual discrimination.

Especially in the context of Rwanda, probably for a better understanding of the Rwandese problems and the Rwandese policy, we should probably be told what the purpose or the objective of the policies are, in terms of protecting which group as compared to which other group. Indeed Article 2 of our Charter could be used as an inspiration, of course one could also quote other international instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination to which all the African states have acceded. One can also use the various articles of that Convention to obtain guidance in terms of a guarantee of the rights of the individual citizens of Rwanda.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, of these general remarks, I should like once again to thank the representative of the Government of Rwanda for the cooperation they have afforded us. I thank you.


... your reply. Has the Charter a place in the present situation, the unfortunate situation in which you country finds itself, the situation of conflict, is the Charter still a relevant instrument that guide state policy?


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I think my watch is correctly 1 o'clock and if we are to continue and if there are other questions and then for the representative of the Government of Rwanda to have time to respond at ease, I would suggest that we adjourn at one and then we resume as usual at 4 o'clock.


Are there any more questions that he can take so that he can reply when we meet at 4. Nigeria is coming in after 4 o'clock. I presume there may not be any more questions. Could you - I think we stop with here 4 o'clock, before we go on to Nigeria. Okay? Thank you very much, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are adjourned for lunch, and we assemble at 4 o'clock.

[Lunch break]


The representative of Rwanda has the floor.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We had suspended the meeting after several questions were put to the Rwandan delegation and I should like now to react to those questions.

But before that, if I may, I should like to say something to add to the discussions earlier on, this is to the effect of statistics, in terms of the quarters on the proportions of the three ethnic groups; the Hutus are 84 percent of the population, the Tutsi are 15 percent and the Tua, 1 percent. This is the correction I wanted to make if ever there was a mistake. Regarding the questions that were raised, I believe that Commissioner Nguema had wanted to know what would happen in Rwanda if the Constitution or a law was violated. To that I should like to answer by using the provisions of the Constitution itself.

At the chapter concerning public liberties, the Constitution stipulates that the judiciary, the custodian of public rights and liberties, shall guarantee its respect under the conditions laid down by the law. This is Article 33 of the Constitution of Rwanda. In other words, if there were any violations of the Constitution or the law, the victim would have full rights to seize the pertinent jurisdiction for redress. In this respect, I should like to point out that there is a court that sanctions any violations of the law.

Mr. Nguema had also raised a question as to what would happen if the executive were to trample upon the law. The answer to that has been partially made - it could be a question of an ordinary violation of the law on the part of an agent or a person, and the person could be taken to court and charged for damages. It could also be in terms of acts promulgated by the executive itself - illegality therefore would be sanctioned by the Council of State.

Commissioner Badawi wanted to know the various types of courts we have in the country. I should like to refer to Article 83 of our Constitution - which stipulates that the following jurisdictions shall be recognized by the present Constitution. These are the tribunals, regional tribunals, the provincial courts or the 'commune courts' for every commune - and a commune is an administrative entity, that is the smallest administrative entity. We have 145 communes in the country. We have 143 and 2 additional communes have just been created and their courts have not yet been established.

But in principle, the canton, all of the cantons do have jurisdiction over the courts. They are the first level courts, level of each 'prefecture', and then there are the courts of appeal of which there are four in the country. And then the Privy Council. As the Privy Council is concerned, I should like to point out that up to 1982, at the time of the judicial reform, we had a Supreme Court which controlled the three sections, the Privy Council, the accounts tribunal, and the Council of State. Now with the innovation, with the reform of 1982, the Privy Council is autonomous, the Council of State is also autonomous as far as the Accounts tribunal.

This is so far as various jurisdictions are concerned. I think we should also point out that we have the War Council, that is a Court Martial for the military, and the Military Tribunal for military. There is also the Tribunal for State Security, a state security court.

Regarding recourse, and this was a question that was also raised, I wish to point out from the point of view of jurisdiction there is the ordinary type of court and the court of appeal, for extraordinary recourse there is the Privy Council and there is the Revisional Court.

I was also requested to say how the bar was organized in Rwanda. In this respect, I should like forthwith to say that Rwanda does not as yet have an organized bar. Of course one could wonder whether the right to defence is guaranteed in the absence of a bar in the country. Well, the answer to that is 'no', because our legislation has taken measures to guarantee the right to defence. It is thus that there is a law enacted in 1964, 12 May 1964, concerning assistance and representation in court. This was not the first law, this particular law came to improve the situation that had already been provided for especially in the Code of Procedures for Commercial Activities.

This is the present law that guarantees defence and representation in court. So that civilians could be represented and defended by somebody that is mandated and that person establishes his quality by declaration or special affidavit - that is as far as civilians are concerned. As far as the Penal Code is concerned, the same law also admits defence for violations for which terms of imprisonment envisaged would not be higher than two years. For felonies or crimes punishable by more than two years, of course, the plaintiff, the person concerned must be present, he cannot be represented as such, this is the slight distinction to be made.

This leads me to the observation that was very felicitously made by Commissioner Badawi concerning discrimination, racial discrimination. I should not like to come back, reiterate what I have already said, I simply wish to underscore the fact that in the face of a situation of inequality, it has so happened that the Government..


... regenerate the debate. I should simply like to make do with expressing gratitude to Commissioner Badawi for the observation he has just made, rightly, in our defence indeed by invoking the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, you had raised yourself a question pertaining to the present situation of war obtaining in Rwanda, and you wanted to know whether the Charter, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights in the face of such a situation is still a useful guide for the Rwandese Government. To that question, I should like to say, Yes, we still attach value and great importance to the principles enunciated and enshrined in the African Charter.

I am sure you will bear with me if I have not fully covered the questions, the question rather, but in default of probably more explanations, I shall simply like to say that the respect of human rights is ensured by virtue of the African Charter, and of other the international instruments and it is thus that the Rwandan Government has had to abide here by the terms and stipulations of the Charter and international conventions.

We therefore unflinchingly strive to abide by and improve the adherence of the Government of Rwanda to the principles of the Charter and other international treaties. I thank you.


I thank you very much, representatives of Rwanda. As I remarked earlier, it has been gratifying to see you in our midst right from the very beginning of this session. It shows the great interest that you have in complying with the terms of the Charter, and the determination of your country to comply with it as much as possible. I thank you very much. I do not know if any Commissioner has anything to add? You have something to add - Mr. Mubanga-Chipoya.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just to add my voice in the expression of gratitude that the Government of Rwanda has joined us in working for the implementation of the Charter and that they are so ready to cooperate with us, even from as early a stage as now.

Having stated that, Mr. Chairman, I want to emphasise to our colleagues from Rwanda the importance our Charter attaches to the respect and the upholding of the rights of the individual. It is of prime importance, and recognition in our Charter that primarily, it is the individual to begin with whose rights we should observe.

I cannot be fast enough to add that of course the Charter is also cognizant of the right of the community, indeed the whole range of articles, think about from Article 19 to possibly Article 26 - talks about peoples' rights. So the Charter is in fact very much concerned with group rights. But it's quite dogmatic, if I may repeat that it is quite categorical about the rights of the individual.

In our duties towards this Charter therefore, we shall be violating the Charter if in any way we sacrifice the rights of any individual in order to satisfy what you term the quota system in a particular country.

In other words, the message to get out of the Charter is that the people of Rwanda are entitled to be treated as one, and that there is no justification whatsoever in dividing them into the three divisions that are inevitable from the quota system. In other words, if you have to - because of economic difficulties in Africa, if you have got only, let's say 100 places in secondary education, the sole criteria for filling any of those 100 position must be performed as an examination and other considerations. Because, Mr. Chairman, not only do you as a matter of fact perpetuate the division in the country by giving quotas to certain ethnic groupings

but you are also actually prepared to doing that which we so strongly condemned in the colonies - divide and rule. We were totally opposed to that idea and subsequently, we have argued in the separate struggles for independence, we all the time said we are one people, we are one people - all the time. How come now we are continuing with this quite clearly colonialist practice? We have to accept that these are supposed to be one people - no doubt there may be some difficulties to begin with, but the guiding principle must remain that our people in each of these countries in fact all over Africa are one, and should not continue in any way in perpetuating the division between individuals that may be purely ethnical. And the Charter is quite strong on that.

The only possible circumstances in which discrimination might be accepted would be if it is positive discrimination. In other words, in the case before us, the case of Rwanda - if it is the disadvantaged, the discriminated against, who are discriminated in favour only in those circumstances would discrimination be contemplated acceptable. For example - take the Tua who are the minority in Rwanda, if you give them a greater number of places in order to bring them up to the privileged position of the Hutu, then that sort of discrimination might be acceptable. But otherwise, these quotas which are only based purely on population proportions of the country are the basis for attainment of office or attainment of education are quite clearly discriminatory and the Charter is very well set against such practices.

It is the wish of the Commission that somehow we shall successfully work with you to find a way of removing these quite obviously discriminatory practice. And I hope if we continue on this level along these lines by and by, sooner or later we must find a provision to this problem.

I thank you, sir.


I thank you very much Mr. Mubanga-Chipoya for that statement which really results from an intimate knowledge of the circumstances of Rwanda. I thank you. Yes.

BADAWI [Original statement in Arabic]:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, in my opinion we should avoid hurried judgments in the situation obtaining in Rwanda whose report is before us. I believe we should not hurry in saying whether such a practice is discriminatory or not. Therefore, of course, naturally each Commissioner expresses his or her own point of view in interpreting certain situations, but this does not necessarily mean that it is the opinion of all the Commissioners here.

I therefore should like to propose Mr. Chairman, that we agree to seek further information apart from the information supplied by the delegate of Rwanda, he said that the procedures used in Rwanda presently are all geared to rectifying the situation.

Mr. Chairman, in spite of what the Rwandese delegation has said if some of us are not convinced, I believe all we can do is ask for additional information so that it becomes easier for our Commission to keep the door of dialogue open for a possible improvement of the situation. I thank you.


Some reaction to the statement just made by Dr. Badawi might help clarify the atmosphere. I spent quite some time during the lunch break, with a lot of difficulty in communicating to the delegation. I was trying to understand how the quota are utilized to find out in fact if they are in line with the provisions of the Charter. The conclusion I drew led me to the statement I just made earlier, and it is a statement I think which draws partly also from the conclusions of Commissioner Nguema, who has visited the country, and who was quite clearly talking from perhaps much more intimate information.

There is therefore nothing rash about the statement I just made. I am almost certain I would make the same sort of statement even some time after now. I discussed the subject of quotas with the delegation during the lunch break, as to what they would do if they were faced with the situation where they had for example let's say 100 places in a secondary school and with a pass mark of let us say fifty percent, and then they found themselves that the people with the least population number, the Tua, who, by the way, are pygmy, that is another name for them. An example; suppose 10 persons of the Tua successfully passed the examination for secondary, and suppose another 30 also of Tutsis passed the examination successfully, and then let's say there is 60 percent of the Hutu, who are 84 percent of the population, passed. You end up with a number that actually is less than 100 - how would you fill up the balance? I was told that you take the 10 and the 20, that is 30, then perhaps the 50 that is 80 - you have the balance of 20, you divide the 20 in the proportions of 84, 15 and 1.

Quite clearly it cannot be like that. Because you now end up with different proportions. You end up with more than - less than 84, but more than 15 and more than 10. So the logical line you are likely to follow is to take only 10 out of the successful 10 Tua, to take only 1 out of the successful pygmy students, and only 15 out of the 20 successful Tutsis, then you have to cast away the others. Now, a strict application of the proportion rule means you would have to go the Hutu who have not been very successful and bring the number up to 84. Quite clearly, this is quite unsatisfactory, and it was only a graphic example to demonstrate how unfair the whole exercise would be.

And on the basis of that, I think it was fair to call the attention of the country Rwanda to the provisions of the Charter demanding the respect of the right of the individual. And this is why I started by saying, certain examination before the pupils or the students of all tribes and merely follow the criterion of their success at the examination in your selection for secondary education.

I insist my statement was not rash, it is based on what I am convinced is quite clearly apparently a discriminatory practice, and this is why I rushed to end by saying, we seek the full cooperation of the country of Rwanda so that together we can work out and find a way of dealing what might be quite a complex problem in Rwanda.

I therefore do object to the tone of the statement made by Dr. Badawi. I thank you, sir.


I feel obviously uncomfortable about the Commissioners disagreeing in the presence of the representative presenting this report. We had - I think we were working out a practice whereby the Commissioner given the special assignment leads the discussion and members express their views and the representative then gives a reply, and that ends there. It seems we have deviated from that. We shall have an opportunity in his absence to discuss what could approximate to the common view of the Commission, which we would then put down a response to the presentation.

So there is really no need at this stage for Commissioners to disagree - as soon as he is not with us, then we can express our views, but so far whatever anyone says is on his behalf until we can get what might be the united view of the Commission, which we communicate to the country in question.

I thank you again representative Mubenzi, unless you want to exercise your right of reply, this could have come in before, but you know so you would reply together, but if you want to exercise that right now of course you are entitled to do so. Over to you.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am not taking the floor to initiate a debate that might be protracted. I do not think this is the time or the occasion, but I simply wanted to clarify what has just been said by the Commissioner, in explaining the manner in which he understood the situation of equilibrium, equilibrium, I do say as we try to establish it in Rwanda. He obtained some information during the break by talking to us. Indeed, we did consult, during the break, but I wish to emphasise that we were not in a position to understand ourselves clearly. We resorted to an interpreter who was not able to help us communicate properly, we used documents, recent documents and then at the hotel, we continued our conversation and I do not think that this conversation was such that we understood each other clearly.

This is what I wanted to say, so that the elements he garnered to explain that he understood the situation may have been obtained from elsewhere not from our conversations during which we did not understand each other at all.

Moreover, I want to say once again to the Commission to avoid any misunderstanding, I should like to reiterate what I said. I said that the Rwandan Government actually practised the policy of equilibrium. I said that that was by virtue of the situation in which the Rwandan Government tries to correct a situation that emerged in the past and is for better equity. In other words, if there is a cake to be shared, we - let us say if three persons are to share a cake, we won't accept that one person should take more to the detriment of the others.

This is what we mean by equity and sharing, so that I want to impress that is a policy which is quite open as practised by the Government, it is a policy of equilibrium which is geared to ensuring sharing on the basis of the rights of all groups without any distinction. Such a policy indeed is not only in terms of ethnic groups. The policy does also take into account the regional dimension, it also takes into account the different genders. Because we realize that in our country - just as in other African countries - the woman has for a long time been marginalized, forgotten. In Rwanda, we are striving to ensure that it is not only one girl that attends a given class in school. So the situation needs to be corrected. Even in the army, we are striving to ensure that women enrol, so it not only in terms of ethnic groups, it is also in terms of the various regions, in terms of genders, and in general, in all areas, we wish to ensure that there is equitable sharing of the right of the Rwandan citizens. I did say earlier on that to say that this was discrimination, is what we call equilibrium for the sake of social justice, is probably a matter of interpretation of a given situation.

This is why in conclusion I find that it is judicious that we should not lose sight of the suggestion of Commissioner Badawi who was saying that in the face of certain misunderstanding, we should the time to seek more information. We did not come here with data and statistics on employment, on education and there are statistics on these areas, so I believe it would be judicious to uphold the suggestion of Mr. Badawi that we obtain the most comprehensive information on the situation which in his interpretation may generate different opinions. I thank you.


You have exercised your right of reply.


Mr. Chairman, I also wish to exercise my right to the floor. Only to say that the case of Rwanda which is today at hand under scrutiny by the Commission, I believe that in Africa the problem of what I usually call ethnic discrimination that might shock some of our ears, the problem is general. There are of course varying degrees of it according to the various countries, but it is a problem that is everywhere.

But it is not because it is everywhere that we should take it - that it is such an objective or a situation that should be perpetuated or realized. I believe that indeed the whole of African must realize that we have efforts to make to rise above and beyond such problems. I believe we could express gratification about the spirit of frankness exhibited by the Rwandan Government by telling us the truth, because it is from truth that we shall derive confidence. Had we been told any other than the truth, we would have been uncomfortable. That is why frankness and truth in this particular incident was comforting. I think the confidence it gives rise to will set the Commission the right course.

I believe that whereas the situation has there in Rwanda over a long period of time, despite of the policy there are from time to time certain outbursts, outbursts that become more and more serious, and today there is a war in Rwanda. I don't know what the cause of it is, but there is a war in Rwanda. I believe we must take cognizance of the existence of this phenomenon, Rwanda should also take cognizance of the existence of this phenomenon. Rwanda may wish to resolve the situation, that is true, but day by day the Rwandan authorities are faced with the problem and they wish to resolve it.

I wish to refer you to measures that have been adopted recently, I have obtained this information through the media, with the usual reservations, of course. It has been decided in Rwanda to delete the mention of tribal origin on the ID card. This has been the measure taken to delete that, on the national ID cards originally, there was a space for tribal origin so that henceforth there would be no mention of tribal origin on the ID cards and such would gradually lead to the abandonment of certain practices and allow the country to drift away from such a situation.

We would recommend to the Government authorities in Rwanda that whilst they work to ensure global equilibrium in the country they should work harder to resolve the problem. But in the past brought them division led to the last revolution in 1979 so there may not be a cyclical type of violence. If today violence is beneficial to one group, tomorrow it will be beneficent to the other. This brings about the infernal cycle of revolutions.

I therefore think that it is a good thing that the Government, the authorities of Rwanda, accepted to be counted in their communications. We take note of this with gratification and advocate that recommendations be made especially as far as education is concerned so that distinctions should no longer be made in terms of admissions into schools, so that the entire population is given the possibility of receiving education on the basis of the capacity and the merits of the individual.

I believe that the problem of education should be used to further the solution of the problems of not only education but as well the other instruments of national policy. I believe education is basic to all these policies, so that if the problem is resolved at the level of education, it will affect the other areas of human industry in Rwanda. The problem has been pointed to on the basis of dialogue and cooperation - we should work together to eliminate such phenomena, not only in Rwanda but elsewhere. Thank you.


... it proves so very interesting after all, and the representative has even had the opportunity of saying whose statements he likes and whose he does not. But we would confer, the Commissioners would discuss and we shall write to you what the Commissioners have said, their individual views, we shall reply on the basis here - we shall give the reply of the Commission.

But I want to say what Mr. Nguema has said before, that the situation in Rwanda is not unique. It is present in most African except that in perhaps three countries, yours, Burundi, and to an extraordinary extent South Africa, it seems a bit unique. Even here what you call social equilibrium, would have a federal character, namely things be done in a way to reflect the federal character of the country.

So I thank you again for you presentation, and let me repeat our thanks for you interest, your patience throughout the week and we shall enjoy talking to you again. Thank you very much.

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