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Case Law of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

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The psychological state of a person when they commit a crime to make the crime seem deliberate is called the mens rea. Men’s rea is a precise, intended plot to commit a certain crime or the general intent for one to go against the law. A genocide, on the other hand, is the nastiest form of violence among human beings, which can be secret or public where civilians’ right to life, security, and freedom are violated. The act of genocide is worldwide wrongdoing that countries in the world consider punishable. Genocide can be an intent to do away with an entire or part of citizens of a country, a racial group, an ethnic group or a religious group. It involves inflicting bodily or psychological pain on the affiliates, killing their members, restricting the group from accessing certain life supporting facilities like health and food, and performing any ill-intended actions that are meant to wipe out part or the entire generation of the segregated group.

According to the Rwandan constitution, involvement in genocide, planning genocidal actions, public incitement leads to genocidal actions and an effort to get involved in genocidal engagements are punishable acts by law. Genocide represents a special intent to destroy a part or the entire population of a certain social group which makes it distinct from other crimes. A particular target which is needed as an element of the crime is the special purpose of the crime.

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Therefore an individual is to blame if they commit a crime that leads to getting to injure or put an end to the existence of part of or an entire population of a certain race, ethnicity, or religious group. The intent is impossible and very difficult to determine since it is a mental factor. However, if the individual accused of genocide fails to confess to their crimes, the intent may be concluded from certain dynamics as the extent of the killings committed by the individuals, the fact that only members from a certain social group suffer the most injuries and deaths while sparing the others people from another social group. The execution of other malicious punishable actions is directed to a certain group, whether done by a single individual or a whole group. The broad political policy that led to the execution of the culpable actions performed by an individual towards a certain group. The men’s rea has to be formed before the instruction to begin the acts of the genocide. The difference between genocide and an ordinary murder crime is the specific intent. To find out the intent, material evidence that the chamber receives is scrutinized together with evidence that shows a regular form of behaviour by the suspects. If the intention cannot be obtained from the suspects’ confession and behaviour, then an indication of the framework of apparent punishable actions could find out the accused intentions. The use of context to get the intention of the suspect has to match the behaviour of the same suspect. The intent of the accused has to be concluded from the suspect’s words and actions and has to be obvious from the arrangements of actions that are purposeful. The intention of the accused is never easy to determine. However, satisfactory evidence of intent could be provided by the actions of the accused, which include incidental proof. Words and actions of an individual who has been accused can provide their intent. The intent is indicated by the physical targeting of a social group or their possessions, the number of affected members, the kind of weapons used and the extent of injuries caused on the body, using disparaging language when talking about certain individuals of the target group, the methodical way of killing etc. In Rwanda RTLM, CDR and Kangura clearly and successfully spread the message of ethnic pursuit for death, which resulted in the massive murder of Tutsi civilians. The long disagreement that existed between the Hutu and Tutsi was sparked, and it led to a genocide in the year 1994.

Although an element of genocide is not constituted by a detailed strategy to destroy, without a plan, it seems difficult to effectively carry out a genocide. Given the extent of the genocide, it is almost impossible for it to occur without some unintended contribution on the part of the state. It is thus not necessary for a person to have information of details of a genocidal strategy since the existence of such a plan is a strong proof of specific intent prerequisite for the genocide offence. Debates held about genocide have termed it as a crime internationally. The interrelationships among the three massacre crimes of wrongdoings against humankind, genocide and warfare criminalities were well-defined officially by the International Criminal Court. Genocide is thus the crime of all crimes since it involves mass killing to wipe out a certain group from the face of the earth.


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