The Paris Court of Assises has sentenced to life in jail Rwanda’s Hategekimana Phlippe alias Biguma who is naturalized French National under the names Philippe Manier.
At the end of the two months trial in Paris, Hategekimana was found guilty of genocide offenses committed during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi in several areas of Nyanza district-southern Province where he was Adjutant Gendarmes in the government which planned and executed the Genocide.
He was found guilty of Genocide crimes and crimes against humanity. Of these crimes include the massacre in Nyanza, Nyabubare, Nyamure, Ntyazo and Isar Songa where Biguma was in most cases reported to have led the gendarmes who were firing on the desparate Tutsi or was coordinating both the gendarmes and Interahamwe on roadblocks.
He was also heard and seen himself firing on the Tutsi or pledging to kill them in several areas according to dozens of witnesses who include eyewitnesses, or Genocide survivors who narrowly survived the tragedy after several torture.
On this list is even included fellow gendarmes at the time who reported threats from Hategekimana who was working in close collaboration with his superior Captain Birikunzira.
He was found guilty of killing Bourgmester Nyagasaza Narcisse of the then Ntyazo commune, then Pierre Nyakarashi who was a police officer and Musonera alias Sana Sana.
He was also found responsible of the killings at Rwesero, Mushirarungu and Nyanza roadblocks.
“Some of the reasons that reinforced the decision to hand him this sentence could be, but are not limited to his attitude in court. He was not showing remorse at all, he was trying to deny everything whatsoever and to pretend that he didn’t know anyone among the witnesses,” said Me Richard Gisagara, from the civil parties.
According to a Rwandan reporter on ground, through the trial, strong testimonies were shared, sending all the courtroom into shocks, but for Biguma who would behave as if nothing happened.
Towards the end of the trial, Hategekimana decided to keep quiet completely, except for a statement he led to plead not guilty. His defence made of four lawyers continued their submissions in the name of their client.
Hategekimana Philippe Biguma was arrested in 2018 in Cameroun and deported to France where he had earlier on got nationality under the name Philippe Manier which he obtained after lying to the French competent institutions.
Appeal can be filed within the next ten days, but on the ruling day, no party manifested the intention to appeal.
France has so far registered six genocide cases that were concluded and those involved the prosecution against Pascal Simbikangwa who was sentenced to 25 years, the duo of Ngenzi Octavien and Tito Barahira who were handed life sentence in jail in appeal, Claude Muhayimana for 14 years, Laurent Bucyibaruta who was handed 20 years, and the latest of Philippe Hategekimana with life sentence.