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French court jails Muhayimana for 14 years over Genocide

Judge's gavel. Pixabay

The French court, Cour d' Assises based in the capital Paris, has condemned Rwandan national Claude Muhayimana to 14 years in prison over his role in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

The verdict was returned Thursday, December 16, over three weeks since the substantive trail began, taking place on almost daily basis until its conclusion.

In the trial, Muhayimana faced charged of genocide, complicity in genocide, and crimes against humanity all committed in the former Kibuye Prefecture in south western Rwanda, where he worked as a driver in 1994k.

The prosecution initially requested that he be jailed 15 years but after deliberation by the jury, the 60-year-old will now face a 14-year sentence.

Richard Gisagara, a Rwandan lawyer based in France who has been following upon the case since it started, through his twitter handle, said this puts an end to an impunity that had lasted 27 years.

"Tonight he sleeps in prison. A very strong thought for the thousands of victims in Busesero and the neighbouring areas," he added, referring to the over 50,000 Tutsi who were murdered in the Bisesero area in the current Karongi District.

Muhayimana was accused of participating in the massacre of the Tutsi in the Saint-Jean compound in Kibuye town and in Gatwaro stadium, where thousands were killed.

He worked as a driver at a hotel in Kibuye but dozens of witnesses who appeared in court testified of how he used the vehicle he drove to transport Interahamwe militia to various localities where they massacred Tutsis.

Kibuye, where tens of thousands of Tutsi were killed, was presumably among the areas protected under Operation Tourqouise, a military mission by French armed forces.

Muhayimana is the fourth Genocide convict tried and sentenced in France.

The first one is Pascal Simbikangwa, who was in 2014 sentenced to 25 years, followed by the joint trial of Tito Barahira and Octavien Ngenzi who were both handed life imprisonment in 2016.

France remains a haven for many masterminds of the Genocide in which over a million people were killed, including former First Lady Agatha Kanziga Habyarimana, a core member of Akazu, the small clique of elites who were at the heart of preparation of the massacre.


(c) 2021, All Africa



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