Israeli Supreme Court: Arms Exports to Rwanda During Genocide Must Remain Secret

Rules State Desire to Keep Secret Trumps Public Interest

Israel’s Supreme Court has shot down a Freedom of Information request by attorneys related to the nation’s export of arms to Rwanda during the 1990-95 period, accepting the Defense Ministry’s argument that national security depended on keeping the matter secret.

The attorneys seeking the information noted that the sales in at least part of this period would’ve violated international law, and a UN Security Council weapons embargo imposed in the midst of the genocide in Rwanda.

During spring of 1994, between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Tutsi civilians in Rwanda were massacred by the government and its supporters, nominally to prevent the implementation of a power-sharing deal negotiated by the international community.

Israel exported rifles and ammunition to Rwanda which was used by the regime in its genocide, but the extent of it has remained uncertain, and no one involved has ever been held to account. The court’s ruling will likely keep it that way.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of