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Home UBUTABERA Tough times as prosecution seeks life in jail for Bucyibaruta

Tough times as prosecution seeks life in jail for Bucyibaruta

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

French Prosecution on Friday, July 8 asked the court of Assise of Paris to hand a life sentence to Laurent Bucyibaruta, the former “Prefet” of the then Gikongoro prefecture for Genocide related crimes he allegedly committed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, in Rwanda.

As the ruling of the trial involving Laurent Bucyibaruta, a former “Prefet” in the Gikongoro Prefecture draws close, the accused continue to face tough times with prosecutors and lawyers of the victims reminding the court for a fair trial.

The last two days saw the court hearing the prosecutors as well as lawyers to the victims praying for the court to bear in mind the lost lives as well as the orphans, widows and widowers left behind by the Genocide Bucyibaruta was directly involved in.

Bucyibaruta is being tried for the genocide related crimes including, committing Genocide, conspiracy to commit Genocide among others.

Bucyibaruta looked so exhausted and could be see napping during the trial. He has denied all the accusation and said he wanted to protect Tutsis but lacked means.  

His trial started early in May 2022 after many years living in France Scot free despite indictment from Rwanda to arrest and trial him.

According to prosecution, Bucyibaruta used the power he had as a leader to incite Interahamwe militia as well as other armed groups including security officer (Gendermes) to kill Tutsi who had sought refugees in different places. Such places include mainly churches and schools among others.

During their last submissions, prosecutors prayed that the court hands Bucyibaruta the heaviest punishment given the losses of lives he caused, and the physical and psychological hard genocide survivors have endured.

Bucyibaruta had earlier told the court that he had no power to stop the killings, and, in some cases, it could happen out of his knowledge.

He said that in some circumstances, he could ask for protection from gendarmerie, but they kept a deaf year, informing the court that he had no power to order them to ensure protections of Tutsi refugees who had sought refuge in different places.

He also said that as prefet, he received instruction from top government leaders, and he could do nothing on his own.

However, Celine Viguier, one of the prosecutors told the court that Bucyibaruta was responsible of killings in different parts such as Cyanika, Murambi, Kaduha and in other roadblocks. 

She told the court that Bucyibaruta had the power and could drive from one place to another but orchestrated the killing of innocent people he had the responsibility to protect.

“We pray for the court to punish Bucyibaruta for having enabled killings of the Tutsi in Kibeho, Murambi, Cyanika, Kaduha and on other road blocks around Gikongoro,” she asked the court.

“Accepting the submission of Bucyibaruta that he received instruction from top government officials would mean that all the leaders implemented instruction to execute killings, it is not true,” she added referring to Prefet Jean Baptiste Habyarimana who was killed after his resistance to prevent killings in his area.

Prosecutor Sophie Havard, also prayed to exhibit the fair trial that would reveal the truth about the Bucyibaruta’s role and which Bucyibaruta knows himself but failed to revel it to the court.

“The truth you will exhibit to find Bucyibaruta guilty and sentence him, you will have written a chapter in history of Genocide in Rwanda and you do this on behalf of all the people of France, it is important that we remember women, children and men who lost their lives,” she said.

“The court should sentence him for crimes that were committed in Kibeho, that he orchestrated Genocide in Murambi, in Cyanika, in Kaduha and at Marie Merci School and on other roadblocks, you should find him guilty of conspiracy for the committed crimes and therefore sentence him for life in jail,” she added.

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