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Yearbook 2015

Rwanda. In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame and the ruling party Rwanda's Patriotic Front (RPF) maintained their strong grip on power. A proposal to amend the Constitution to allow Kagame to stand for a third term created debate.

2015 Rwanda

According to COUNTRYAAH, Rwanda's strong economic growth has benefited Kagame, but human rights groups and the opposition criticize his government for not tolerating criticism and limiting freedom of expression.

A call that was reported to be signed by just over 3.7 million voters started the formal process of extending Kagame's term in office. The proposal was then accepted by the RPF party congress in June, after which Parliament began to address the issue. The small opposition party, the Democratic Greens, who are not in Parliament tried in vain to get the Supreme Court to stop the process.

At the end of October, the House of Commons approved by a large majority to shorten the term of office of future presidents from seven to five years and that the president should only be allowed to sit for two periods. But an exception was introduced for Kagame, who would be allowed to stand for another seven-year period from 2017 and then two five-year periods.

The Senate unanimously approved the changes in November and in December the change was confirmed in a referendum where 98% of voters supported the proposal.

Kagame, 58, has not said whether he will run again after 2017, but several countries, including the US and the UK, have criticized the changes. It also scored false when Kagame criticized neighboring Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision earlier in the year to run a contentious election for a third term. Rwanda also took in thousands of refugees who fled the violence in neighboring countries.

The United Nations War Criminal Court (ICTR) in Arusha held its last negotiations during the year. Since 1995, it has examined 93 individual cases linked to the 1994 genocide.

In Stockholm district court, a trial was launched in September against a 60-year-old Rwandan-born man for genocide. The trial is the second of its kind in Sweden.

In June, the head of Rwanda security service Karenzi Karake was arrested in London at the request of Spanish authorities who accused him of crimes during and after the genocide. A British court rejected an extradition request in August, but Rwanda criticized the British severely.

Rwanda's relations with Britain were previously strained since the BBC aired a controversial documentary on the 1994 genocide, which led to Rwanda banning the BBC from broadcasting programs over the country's FM networks.

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