Hearing in the Genocide case involving former prefet of Gikongoro Prefecture Laurent Bucyibaruta against Prosecution in Paris Criminal Court is nearing conclusion with defence requesting the court to clear Bucyibaruta of all charges.
The defence started with an acceptance that, indeed the Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda, “was prepared, and the Genocide survivors who, indeed suffered, deserve to know WHO, in real sense prepared it.”
They went straight to a case by case, and attorney Joachim Levy started with the charge of participation in the Genocide at K ibeho
He defended, that Bucyibaruta couldn’t have been to Kibeho on April 14 when the killings allegedly started while he was away.
Same thing in Murambi, he said the Tutsi were gathered in Murambi, and then were later killed, but testimonies about the massacre at this school “is full of contradiction with some witnesses saying that he was there, and then changing their mind, that, actually he was not there.”
They said, that as for Cyanika and Kaduha, saying that the killings were prepared under consultation of Bucyibaruta and the Sous prefet of both Karaba and Kaduha, “were also contradicting.”
He said the Prefet did not go to Murambi, neither did he order the killing of the Tutsi.
The defence termed trashed the testimony of a prisoner who was in Gikongoro prison during the Genocide and who testified about the killings of three priests inside the prison.
They said “it is baseless allegation.”
In this allegation, the witness who was chief of the kitchen, said that the order to kill the priests was given by Bucyibaruta who would later order release of prisoners “in reward for killing the Tutsi.”
On his side, attorney Biju Duval defended that, while it is true that collaboration from national to local level in the genocide was obvious, a generalization of facts would be dangerous.
He said : “ We know cases of some prefets who did not participate in the Genocide including Prefet of Cyangugu, Butare, Gitarama, and I may also mention Bucyibaruta.”
He said, there is no evidence Bucyibaruta knew the plan of the Genocide.
The fedence continued to avoid any link between Bucyibaruta and Captaine Sebuhura whom they agree, participated in the Genocide.
They said Bucyibaruta continued to work with Major Bizimungu, commander of Gendarmerie in Gikongoro to seek solutions to killing, but Sebuhura brought did wrong to involve the gendarmes into killings.
They further said, that a message from President Sindikubwabo who told Bucyibaruta that he could not find gendarmes to ensure security, “was the centre of the killings because the president suggested that citizen themselves should assure security.”
The defence however, agreed that Bucyibaruta was not “as much resistant to the message of President Sindikubwabo as Prefet of Butare who even risked his life.”
The Defence alleged that Bucyibaruta did not have real power during the Genocide because some had already started calling him accomplice(icyitso) which would cost his life, would he dare suggest anything that intended to stop the plan of the then ruling power.
They said, that he
Last week, the prosecution tabled its conclusion before court, whereby they said that indeed “Bucyibaruta did not grab a machete to kill people, but the blood of more than 100,000 Tutsi that were killed during the Genocide in Gikongoro are on his hands.”
They based this on events whereby for example he approved the decision to gather Tutsi in places where he allegedly knew they would be killed.
Later on, he declared that peace was restored and the Tutsi who were hiding came out and were killed.
They also said his supporting roadblocks where Tutsi were killed incriminates him.
With all these, the prosecution sought life sentence against Bucyibaruta.
The case of former prefet of Gikongoro involved several witnesses for both the defence, prosecution including civil parties.
In defence, Bucyibaruta brought some of members of the government under which the Genocide was executed, including generals, former ministers among others.
Some of them maintained that “the genocide was as a result of the anger of the mass against the killing of President Habyarimana who died in a plane crash.”
Others took an extreme side to accuse Rwanda Patriotic Front(RPA) Inkotanyi “to have caused the population anger by attacking Rwanda, which resulted in the Genocide.”
Some witnesses of the defence were hesitant to admit that in Rwanda there was the Genocide against Tutsi.
The suspect was once heard saying that Tutsi were evil, but in court, he defended that “he was talking about the Tutsi from RPA; indeed they were evil because they caused war to Rwanda.”
The hearing took place, sometimes under an environment of shock in court due to strong testimonies of survivors who narrowly survived the Genocide after losing scores of family members.
Towards the end of the hearing, the court was particularly to hear that in the morning of April 22 when the Genocide took place in Murambi, Bucyibaruta went to office “to work on his files since he had a lot on his table.”
Tomorrow, the court will hear the conclusion for Bucyibaruta and rule on the case which has been running since early May.