Home NewsNational What Was Wrong with You?-Genocide Survivor Asks Presumed Murderer in Court

What Was Wrong with You?-Genocide Survivor Asks Presumed Murderer in Court

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
9:49 am

Nyamure hill where thousands of Tutsi, including the relatives of the witness were killed

The trial of Philippe Hategekimana Manier, famously known as Biguma has continued for the 5th consecutive week in Paris court of Assize-France.

Hategekimana who is accused of Genocide crimes committed during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi where more than one million Tutsi perished in three months pleads not guilty.

He maintains that, he was not in Nyanza, the scene of the crimes he is alleged to have committed, but claims that he was re-appointed in Kacyiru-Kigali when the Genocide started.

However, a witness from civil parties on June 12 added on the testimonies of her predecessors to tell court the presumed role of the suspect in the Genocide.

Hategekimana was an Adjutant Gendarme during the Genocide while the witness who was still in Primary school was with family in Nyamure sector, Nyanza district when the Genocide started.

When the hunt for the Tutsi intensified, her family joined the rest of other Tutsi on Nyamure hill, and interahamwe attacked them.

The Tutsi tried to defend themselves, and managed to resist to Interahamwe militia until the latter got a reinforcement from the Gendarmes of Nyanza who allegedly had Hategekimana on the helm.

“My mother told us: we are done! The Gendarmes have joined Interahamwe militia. Please if any of you survive, take good care of your siblings,” the witness evokes the legacy of her mother.

On the fateful day, the girl saw a lot of blood shedding following the shootings but she only survived because the killers took her for dead, too.

“At night, a militia came, calling me by name and since I was very thirsty, I responded and asked him to give me water,” she said.

The militia replied to the suffering girl with a very shocking answer.

“I am going to send some children to bring you water, or how about if I give you meat sauce instead?” the militia said while he was busy taking clothes from the dead people.

As a point of reminder, during the Genocide, killers used to loot cows of the Tutsi and to butcher them for meat. Proposing meat to the victims in such a situation was in itself torture.

In the end, the man sent children who were around for water, and they took the message to their father who sent them back while saying: “I am not giving her water. Let her just die,” the witness recalls.

The girl was left in that anguish, watching her mother and her siblings who were killed with strange animosity.

“I spent a couple of days with the bodies, pretending that I was among the dead during the day, visiting my relatives’ bodies at night,” she said.

“After sometimes, a voice told me: please leave this place otherwise you will also be killed.”

She left the spot, trying a hideout after another, meeting several people who swore to kill her, but surviving miraculously until she one day decided to go stay in the bush.

With so much pain and difficulties to hold tears, the witness pleaded with the court: “If you may, I just want to ask Biguma one question,” and the court responded: “please do.”

She turned at the defendant and asked:” When you killed our relatives who were also your neighbours and came to kill more the following day, and the third consecutive day, didn’t you have conscious?”

The court president who plays a role of standing in between quickly responded to the witness that the accused pleads not guilty and claims that he was not in Nyanza when all these happened.

When the court asked more questions to the witness, they understood that she lost five siblings, 20 aunts among many other relatives and survived with one younger brother.

The witness was able to study up to university supported by the Genocide survivors’ fund. One of her remaining wounds is to have lost the audition of her left ear.

The court asked the suspect if he had anything to comment about the testimony and he said: “I have no comment about it, much as I was not at the scene of the crime she is talking about.”

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