Posts tagged as: rouge

Rwanda Genocide Suspect to Serve Life Sentence

By Robert Mbaraga

A Rwandan court has sentenced Bernard Munyagishari to life imprisonment over the role he played in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

The special chamber of the High Court trying international crimes found Munyagishari guilty of genocide and murder as a crime against humanity. He was, however, acquitted of charges of rape charges.

According to the High Court, the prosecution failed to provide incriminating evidence proving that Munyagishari, planned, ordered, or individually committed rape.

“The court established Munyagishari’s individual criminal responsibility and criminal responsibility as superior through recruiting, training and leading the Interahamwe in killing Tutsis in Gisenyi and elsewhere” the judge said.

Munyagishari is a former secretary to the local chapter of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development – a political party linked to the ex-Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana – in Gisenyi.

He was transferred to Rwanda by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in July 2013 following his arrest in the Democratic Republic Congo in 2011.

According to the verdict, the former leader of the Interahamwe militias in Gisenyi established roadblocks in the lakeside city and its environs and personally supervised those located in the central areas of the city.

At the roadblocks that he supervised, the judge said, Munyagishari selected Tutsis and ordered his interahamwe to take them to be killed and buried at the “Commune Rouge.” The “Commune Rouge” was an infamous cemetery in Gisenyi and the adjective “rouge” (red) signifies the blood of those who were killed and dumped there.

The prosecution maintained that the accused “willfully and knowingly” ordered a special corps of young interahamwe called the Ntarumikwa, to rape Tutsi women and girls before killing them.

He was also accused of instigating his wife and a female group that she headed, to sexually torture female Tutsis before killing them.

Munyagishari’s lawyers said they would appeal the verdict.

Munyagishari, 58, becomes the second individual sent to Rwanda by ICTR to be convicted, after Pastor Jean Uwinkindi, who was also sentenced by the same court to life imprisonment in December 2015.

The third transferred case of the former mayor, Ladislas Ntaganzwa is still pending in the High Court.

Eight cases were transferred to Rwanda by the ICTR but five of the accused, Fulgence Kayishema, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Ryandikayo, and Charles Sikubwabo are still at large.

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Rubavu Genocide Perpetrators Urged to Reveal Locations of Victims

By John Mbaraga

Staff of the Rwanda Law Reform Commission (RLRC), last week, visited Commune Rouge Genocide memorial to honor victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and donated a cow to a genocide widow.

The commemoration was preceded by a ‘walk to remember’ from Gisenyi downtown to Commune Rouge Genocide Memorial Site.

Speaking at the commemoration, John Gara, the chairperson of RLRC. said the commission still encounters different complicated cases related to genocide like genocide denial and ideology.

“Sometimes people remember what happened in 1994 as it was the only hard moment Rwanda experienced, but remembrance should also reflect on all series of inhumane activities Tutsis suffered before,” Gara said.

He added that during remembrance, Rwandans should reflect on the country’s evolution and achievements and work to fight genocide ideology.

‘Routes to flee were cut off’

The Mayor of Rubavu, Jeremie Sinamenye, said it would have been very easy for Tutsi who lived in former Gisenyi prefecture to flee to DR Congo, but it was not possible because all roads were blocked by marauding Interahamwe militiamen.

“Genocide victims laid to rest at this memorial site are a few, compared to the number of Tutsis killed in this region and the extent to which Genocide was severe. That is why we always call upon people who know where bodies of genocide victims were dumped to come forward and reveal to give them decent burial,” Sinamenye said.

Innocent Kabanda, the president of Ibuka, the umbrella body of Genocide survivors’ associations in Rubavu District, said the former Gisenyi prefecture is one of the first places where the Genocide was experimented in the early 1990s.

Tutsi from the Bigogwe area who were accused of being accomplices of Rwanda Patriotic Front were killed by the then government, he said.

“Almost all of the former government’s top leaders that had formed ‘Akazu’ were from Gisenyi prefecture, all meetings of the genocide preparation took place in this district,” Kabanda recalled, naming some top leaders he remembers.

He added that most of those who were killed at ‘Commune Rouge’ were rallied by militiamen with false promise of protection at the Rubavu Commune’s Office before they were led to ‘Commune Rouge’ to be killed.

Commune Rouge had formerly served as a cemetery.

Ephrasie Mukantabana, a Genocide widow who received a cow from Rwanda Law Reform Commission, commended the donors and the government that never tires to think of their lives.

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