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Security forces accused of cold-blooded killings

Publish date: 17 July 2017
Issue Number: 734
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Rwanda

Security forces in Rwanda have summarily killed at least 37 suspected petty offenders since April 2016, Human Rights Watch has noted in a new report. Most victims were accused of stealing items such as fruit and livestock. Others were suspected of smuggling marijuana from the DRC or using illegal fishing nets. The 40-page report, All Thieves Must Be Killed: Extrajudicial Executions in Western Rwanda, details how military, police and auxiliary security units, sometimes with the assistance of local civilian authorities, apprehended suspected petty offenders and summarily executed them. Two men were killed by civilians after local authorities encouraged residents to kill thieves. In all the cases HRW noted, the victims were killed without any effort at due process to establish their guilt or bring them to justice. 'Rwandan security forces are carrying out a brutal campaign of cold-blooded murder,' said Daniel Bekele, senior director for Africa advocacy at HRW.

Full HRW report