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Torture and Unlawful Military Detention in Rwanda

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Torture and Unlawful Military Detention in Rwanda

10th October 2017


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Between 2010 and 2016, scores of people suspected of collaborating with “enemies” of the Rwandan government were detained unlawfully and tortured in military detention centers by Rwandan army soldiers and intelligence officers. Some of these people were held in unknown locations, including incommunicado, for prolonged periods and in inhuman conditions.

These illegal detention methods are designed to extract information from real or suspected members or sympathisers of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR)—an armed group based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, some of whose members took part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda—and, to a lesser extent, the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an opposition group in exile. Rwandan authorities have accused the FDLR of launching attacks on Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as recently as 2016, and have accused both the FDLR and the RNC of carrying out grenade attacks in Rwanda between 2008 and 2014.


This report describes systematic patterns of torture, enforced disappearances, illegal and arbitrary detention, unfair trials, and other serious human rights violations in military detention centers in Rwanda, from 2010 to 2016, in clear violation of Rwandan and international law. Human Rights Watch’s findings are based on interviews with more than 230 people, including 61 current and former detainees. Human Rights Watch also observed the trials of seven groups of people and reviewed court statements regarding 21 illegal detention cases and statements given in court by 22 individuals. Human Rights Watch conducted research for this report in Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Burundi, and Kenya between 2010 and 2017.

Report by the Human Rights Watch

  • Torture and Unlawful Military Detention in Rwanda
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