Rwandan genocide suspects on trial: Paris and Kigali

10 May 2016 by Janet H. Anderson Kigali (Rwanda)

Two Rwandans will go on trial today in Paris for genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial of Octavien Ngenzi and Tite Barahirwa - both former mayors from the south east of the country – is France’s second in a series of up to a potential twenty suspects, in connection with the 1994 genocide. Former spy chief Pascal Simbikangwa was convicted in March 2014 to 25 years in jail in the first ever judgment by a French court relating to the Rwandan genocide. But in October last year the French case against a notorious side-arm-carrying priest Wenceslas Munyeshyaka was dismissed to widespread criticism.

Kigali Genocide Memorial (Photo: Janet Anderson)
Image caption: 
Kigali Genocide Memorial (Photo: Janet Anderson)

With that decidedly mixed picture, France’s efforts are not yet being appreciated by Kigali. Last month President Paul Kagame was quoted on his presidency twitter account during the annual commemoration of the genocide, in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed, as saying in relation to France that “people who have responsibility in Genocide [sic] have not been tried & [the] real issue has not been addressed”.

Meanwhile in Rwanda itself, Ladislas Ntaganzwa - originally wanted by the UN’s Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and extradited from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo – was put on on trial last month for his role as a local official in the 1994 genocide. Leon Mugesera, a professor deported from Canada, whose 1992 speech against the Tutsi is often quoted to show how the genocide was planned, was also finally given a life sentence by the Kigali High Court. [IJT 158]

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