- Rwanda's ministry of youth and culture has suspended the Miss Rwanda pageant.
- Pageant organiser Dieudonné Ishimwe faces charges of of rape, soliciting or offering sexual favours, and harassment.
- Last year President Paul Kagame called for harsher penalties for perpetrators of gender-based violence.
The Miss Rwanda beauty pageant has been suspended after its organiser, Dieudonné Ishimwe, was arrested in late April on allegations of sexual abuse.
In a statement, Rwanda's Minister of Youth and Culture, Rosemary Mbabazi, said: "Based on ongoing investigations by the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) of the CEO of Rwanda Inspiration Backup, over alleged sexual abuse of Miss Rwanda contestants, the Ministry of Youth and Culture informs the general public that the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant has been suspended pending completion of investigations."
Last Friday, Rwanda Inspiration Backup, the organisation behind the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant, launched the registration process for Miss Rwanda 2022 contestants.
Ishimwe, 36, a former musician who went by the name Prince Kid, faces charges of rape, soliciting or offering sexual favours, and harassment.
It's alleged that the crimes occurred over a period spanning several years after he had taken over the running of the pageant in 2014.
In Rwanda, rape carried a 15-year maximum sentence.
Last year, President Paul Kagame called for harsher penalties for gender-based violence perpetrators.
"We should put all our efforts into fighting these crimes and ensure that it reduces significantly. The authors of this crime, their accomplices, and those that protect them should face tough punishment. It must be made costly for anyone who attempts to do that," he told stakeholders in the justice sector during the launch of the 2021/2022 judicial year.
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