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Genocide Suspect Could be Summoned to Cour d’Assises in France

by Daniel Sabiiti
6:27 pm

(l) Genocide suspect Claude Muhayimana a former driver at ‘Kuri Guest’ hotel in Kibuye town. He is accused of taking part in killings targeting Tutsi in Karongi, Gitwa and Bisesero, between April and June 1994

French Judiciary wants Rwandan Genocide suspect Claude Muhayimana 56 to be tried at the cour d’assises in Paris after new evidence has surfaced further implicating him.

In France, cour d’assises  is the principal criminal court in France and the only court that functions with a jury.

On December 13, 2011, Rwandan judicial authorities issued an international arrest warrant against the suspect who lives in the city of Rouen.

However, in 2012, court in the city of Rouen had ruled that Muhayimana, be sent to Rwanda to answer charges of Genocide and crimes against humanity but the fugitive successfully appealed against the decision.

On June 4, 2013 the organisation Le Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR) had lodged a complaint with civil party seeking the French based suspect to be tried for crimes committed during 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

Muhayimana was a driver at a hotel commonly known ‘Kuri Guest’ in Kibuye town, Karongi district. He is alleged to have driven Interahamwe militias to several attack places.

He is also accused of involvement in the killing Tutsi at Nyamishaba School (Karongi district) in April 1994 who had sought refuge in Karongi, Gitwa and Bisesero, between April and June 1994.

He is also accused of having participated in killings carried out in the Kibuye church on April 17, 1994, and the following day in a nearby stadium. Both massacres resulted in the death of thousands of Tutsi.

The overwhelming case hit an almost dead end on November 9, 2017 when the public prosecutor of the High Court of Paris published a “partial dismissal and indictment” in the case as a result not finding the specific crimes to charge the suspect.

Maître Richard Gisagara, the lawyer for the survivors said that this decision has been taken by the judges for the third time now but not satisfactorily.

“It is a good decision but the judges didn’t take into consideration all the charges of committing genocide, but instead took up the charge of being an accomplice in the killings which took place at the school,” Gisagara said yesterday after the ruling.

French Prosecution also stated that they didn’t find enough evidence on his role in the killings which took place at Hostel St. Jean located on the hills of in Kibuye town overlooking Lake Kivu.

The suspect’s lawyer however told court that he didn’t agree with the submission of the complainants and was to submit and appeal for court to drop trial on the arguments presented.

However, Isaac Habarugira, a representative of the association of Genocide survivors (IBUKA) in Karongi district says that there is enough evidence collected during Gacaca court cases in which the suspect was named among genocide architects in the area.

“We would like the case to be tried where the suspect committed the crimes so that witnesses can be presented. If that is not possible we are ready to provide supporting evidence in his trial to show that he actually killed Tutsi in three separate areas,” Habarugira told KT Press.