The Paris Criminal Court has sentenced former Prefet of Gikongoro Prefecture Laurent Bucyibaruta to 20 years in jail over over complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity.
Bucyibaruta who has been in this court for the last two months was found guilty of complicity in the massacre of Tutsi at Kibeho secondary school – Marie Merci where killings targetted Tutsi students between April 14-16.
He was also found guilty of the same crimes at Cyanika Parish, Kaduka Parish and in Murambi technical school-Nyamagabe district where tens of thousands of Tutsi perished between April 22-23.
However, Bucyibaruta was acquitted of all genocide crimes committed at Gikongoro prison and Kibeho parish.
Bucyibaruta was arrested right away, according to our reporter on ground Ines Ghislaine Nyinawumuntu.
Parties in the trial had their say on the verdict with Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda represented by Alain Gautier saying that they were disappointed with the verdict, especially the fact that it was not ruled that Bucyibaruta was only found guilty of the complicity, not direct involvement in the Genocide.
They however said, that they will just be content with that and proceed with other Genocide trials ahead.
The civil parties’ Lawyer Martin Karongozi also find that Bucyibaruta deserved a life sentence in jail as prosecution had wished, but added, that probably the court thought that 20 years would be enough with a person of the age of Bucyibaruta – over 70 year old.
President of Ibuka France Etienne Nsanzimana said:” Given his age, the court might think that the punishment is heavy enough, calling him just an accomplice in the Genocide brings to us a question: does court really know the power a prefet had during the Genocide against Tutsi?”
Nsanzimana said that they are thankful that in any case Bucyibaruta was found guilty.
The verdict can be appealed for in the next ten days.
The Genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda was planned and executed by the government of the time. Over one million Tutsi were killed in three months-April-early July 1994.
In the sites where Bucyibaruta was found guilty, an estimate 100,000 Tutsi were killed and Gikongoro is said to be the prefecture where Genocide was the worst, with quite a few survivors.