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Paris Court Starts Tough Interrogation In Bucyibaruta Case

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
3:22 pm

Laurent BucyibarutaThe Paris Criminal Court has continued the hearing in Genocide case involving the prosecution against former Prefet of Gikongoro, Laurent Bucyibaruta.

On July 5, the presiding judge continued with the interrogation phase which he started on July4 afternoon.

As it had started, the interrogation continues to promise to be tough with the court asking questions that may insinuate the weakness of the leadership of Bucyibaruta during the Genocide on one side.

On the other side, Bucyibaruta continued to intentionally dodge some questions even when the court insists by repeating them twice, thrice and beyond.

Bucyibaruta further wants to show that he was vulnerable or incapacitated to do anything whatsoever “because he was not in control of the army or gendarmerie.”

He also seeks to dissociate himself with roadblocks where many Tutsi were killed during the Genocide while saying, that roadblocks were an order of the Ministry of Defence “to control infiltration of the enemies” or Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) Inkotanyi.

The main question that kept coming was the imprudence of  Bucyibaruta to realize that despite saying that roadblocks were meant to control RPA infiltration, they were rather targeting Tutsi and scores were killed at them.

“Couldn’t you realize that instead of arresting RPA infiltrators, the roadblocks would rather target and kill the Tutsi?” the court asked.

“If ever it happened, it was not the objective, the intention was to stop the enemy,” he said despite having been given a case where three Tutsi were killed at the roadblock in Gikongoro town.

Bucyibaruta admitted crossing several roadblocks, but denied to have ever seen a Tutsi being killed at them.

“I have seen none; at any roadblock, they would ask my boadyguard whom I was, and they could open for us right away,” he said.

The question was further to know, if he did not fear for the life of his wife, a Tutsi, the day she was coming from Gatsibo, having to go through roadblocks.

“I was confident they would let her go,” he said.

Another big question was around the killings in Murambi and Kibeho which happened on two different dates, nearly one week difference (April 15-16 in Kibeho, April 21 in Murambi).

Laurent Bucyibaruta in court

The concern was to try to understand why Bucyibaruta did not draw a lesson from Kibeho and understand that a danger was looming to the Murambi Tutsi refugees.

“I did not expect everything to be the same everywhere,” he said.

On April 21, 1994 when killing the Tutsi started at 3AM in Murambi, Bucyibaruta heard the shooting, but he said he could not go on ground to intervene because, “first I couldn’t leave my family because we were also afraid of the worst. Leave alone that, I did not have a driver.”

He was asked why he did not call the commandant of the Gendarmerie and he said he did not think it could work that late.

“I didn’t expect things to be alarming any way,” he said.

He said that when he called in the end, “the commandant of gendarmerie also said he was in a dilemma and didn’t know what to do.”

“So you waited for all the Tutsi to die in Murambi?” asked the court.

“No! You are the one saying,” Bucyibaruta said adding that he only managed to go to Murambi at 8AM when he got a driver.

Bucyibaruta maintained that he had trust of the gendarmes who were appointed by their commandants “to protect the Tutsi”, but “if they turned to be bad, I am not answerable to that.”

The court showed Bucyibaruta that Gendarmerie deputy commandant Sebuhura who is said to have played role in Genocide turned hostile in his eyes, but he did not report him.

“You cannot report a soldier when you are a civilian; if he was bad indeed, it belonged to his senior in command Major Bizimungu to report him,” he said, an argument which the court did not buy; a leader not doing anything to report the person behind a tragedy in his prefecture.

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