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This Official is on Trial for His Alleged Role in the Rwandan Genocide

71-year-old Fabien Neretse has been charged with 13 murders which took place between April and July of 1994.

Seventy-one-year-old Fabien Neretse, a former senior Rwandan official, appeared in a Brussels court in Belgium yesterday. He is currently on trial for his alleged involvement in 13 murders which occurred during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. According to News24, this is the first time a Belgian case has explicitly charged Neretse with genocide.


Back in 2011, Neretse was arrested by the French but was not placed in detention. He continues to proclaim his innocence till this day. Yesterday's proceedings, however, focused on the selection of the jury and thus Neretse has not appeared in the dock as yet. The first hearing is set to take place this Thursday.

In 1994, Rwanda experienced a genocide that was a result of ethnic cleansing. The Hutu people, who were the ethnic majority at the time, murdered at least 800 000 Tutsi people, an ethnic minority. Following the Hutu revolution in 1959, thousands of Tutsis fled the country and left behind an even smaller minority. The murders were carried out by Hutu nationalists and extremists initially in the capital of Kigali and then spread to the rest of the country.

A Belgian citizen named Claire Beckers, who was a shopkeeper in Kigali, was murdered in April of the genocide along with her husband Isaïe Bucyana (a Tutsi) and their daughter Katia Bucyana. Beckers' sister, Martine Beckers, was the one who lodged a complaint with Belgian prosecutors who now believe that Neretse was a leader in the area and directed the mass murders of Tutsis residing there.

Interestingly enough, Belgium was the colonizer of Rwanda and is held partially responsible by some for stoking ethnic tensions. The country's 1993 law allows the country to exercise universal jurisdiction with regards to prosecuting individuals who participated in genocides, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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Photo courtesy of MASS Design Group.

The African Design Center is Birthing a New Generation of African Architects and Designers

In this interview, Rwandan architect and designer, Christian Benimana, says that the 'African city' does not exist and suggests that the continent look to urbanizing without necessarily creating cities.

When Christian Benimana left Rwanda to study architecture in China in the early 2000s, he inadvertently bore witness to one of the world's biggest building booms. During that time, China underwent one of the most rapid urbanization in the history of the earth. But behind the glittering skyscrapers and brand new urban neighborhoods, says Benimana, in a TED Talk from last year, is a much darker story. "Behind these facades was the exploitation of huge numbers of migrant workers and the massive displacement of thousands of people that made these projects possible. As countries in Africa undergo massive rates of urbanization, it's these lessons in city building from his time in China that come to the front.

Benimana is the principal at MASS Design Group in Rwanda, a firm that has carried out architectural projects in Rwanda and broader Africa over the past 10 years. He has become the lead in implementing the African Design Center.

The African Design Center, the project-based apprenticeship established by the MASS Design Group, is committed to a more sustainable model of architecture. The ultimate goal is to begin a movement of young and inspired people who will completely upend what we have come to know as conventional architecture. By incubating talent and redesigning curriculums, the Africa Design Center is attempting to envision what development in Africa needs to start looking like outside of the Western conceptions of development being imposed on the continent. Schools are a particular focus for the center as it challenges what schools should look like and how their architecture goes hand-in-hand with the education African children receive.

We caught up with Benimana to talk more about the African Design Center's ambitious vision and his own personal views on the state of cities on the continent right now.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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A car at Volkswagen's assembling plant in Kigali, Rwanda, on June 27, 2018. (Photo by CYRIL NDEGEYA/AFP/Getty Images)

This New Pilot Program is Bringing Electric Cars to the Streets of Rwanda

Citing a strong electricity grid in Kigali, Volkswagen is rolling out a Rwandan version of their "e-Golf."

Rwanda is now the first country on the continent to feature fully electric cars from Volkswagen. Starting today, there will be four models of the popular Golf model, now dubbed "e-Golf," on the streets as part of partnership between Volkswagen and Siemens to test the viability of electric cars in Africa. According to pro-government newspaper, The New Times, Rwanda was chosen because Kigali's strong energy infrastructure would support the building of charging stations throughout the city without disturbing businesses and residents.

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Deaan Vivier/Foto24/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Miss South Africa Wants Men to Write Love Letters to Women to Fight Against Gender-Based Violence

Unfortunately, there's nothing stopping abusive men from writing these love letters too.

South Africa's newly crowned Miss SA Zozibini "Zozi" Tunzi has launched a "HeForShe" campaign which aims to tackle the alarming rates of femicide and gender-based violence in the country. The campaign, which is in partnership with the South African arm of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), wants South African men to step up and join the collective fight against abuse. However, the campaign has been criticized by many because of the way in which it wants men to step—by writing love letters to women. The campaign has divided South Africans, particularly those on social media.

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Romain Chanson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Gambian Beauty Queen Fatou Jallow's Movement Against Sexual Assault Gains Traction

After publicly accusing former President Yahya Jammeh of rape, young women under the #IamToufah banner are standing against sexual assault in the country.

A few months ago, former Gambian beauty queen Fatou 'Toufah' Jallow publicly accused former President Yahya Jammeh of rape. The 23-year-old alleged that Jammeh had raped her following her refusal of his marriage proposal during his time in office back in 2015. Under the leadership of current President Adama Barrow, The Gambian government established the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) which is now investigating human rights violations during Jammeh's tenure. Jallow, who is testifying at the commission, has spurred a movement where young women are taking a stand against sexual assault in the country under the #IamToufah banner.

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