The Trial of Hategekimana Phlippe Manier, commonly known as Biguma which has been on for one month now, has continued in Paris Court of Assize and no day goes by without a recount of shocking testimonies from the side of civil parties, who are mainly Genocide survivors.
Adjutant in the Rwanda’s army then, Hategekimana is battling a genocide case; accused of massacres that befell the Tutsi in several areas of Nyanza, Southern province during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. He has been hearing witnesses who point a direct finger to him as the person who directly was seen in front-line, killing them and witnessing them being raped, just to mention a few evils.
On Friday, a female Genocide survivor who was a teenager during the Genocide told the court how during that time, the Tutsi did their level best to defend themselves, until Hategekimana came with his men.
“At first, we thought the massacre were targeting everyone, and the Hutu in my village joined us for an auto defense. But this common ground did not delay; Hutu and Tutsi separated and the later became the huntees, and the former, the hunters,” she said.
“That day, Biguma came with a famous trader of the area and they attacked us. We burnt down their car, but they also killed one of us.”
The following day, a new attack was staged, under the command of Hategekimana, and many Tutsi were killed that very day, and so was the third day.
They dispersed the Tutsi, and the witness in this trial was unfortunate to cross with Interahamwe militia who walked them down the hill with her family, killing whoever they wanted all along.
As they were trying to escape, the witness and a few Tutsi fought that all was fine when they reached a catholic parish.
“We pleaded the priest to save us, but that day, I experienced the real despair. The priest, instead of giving us safe haven rebuked: Go to hell! Even my Almighty God hates you!” the witness said.
That very evening, the witness was taken by Interahamwe militia to a roadblock and she was gang raped through the night.
“In the morning, they told me: go way, someone else will just deal with you,” she said.
“I resolved to never confess that I was tutsi and thought that would save me. On my way, I met an interahamwe who was enraged to rape. She also raped me before throwing me away. I thought that I would be safe if I fled to my elder sister who was married to a Hutu husband. The later also raped me before saying: we cannot stay with a thing that all people want to kill.”
This witness had already become traumatized. She resolved to return to a roadblock.
“I wanted the militia to kill me because I had seen it all,” she said.”They did not kill me, but they agreed to hand me to one interahamwe. She took me home for rape together with other Tutsi ladies. They were killed all afterwards. I am the only one who survived in that group, together with my elder sister,” she said.
The court president who was shocked by these atrocities asked: “It is clear you went through a lot. Have you now recovered from those wounds?”
The witness answered: ” Not really! The only courage that I get is that this time, people listen to me and believe me!”