The Bruxels Court of Assises has proceeded in the second week the hearing of a trial involving two Rwandan Genocide suspects.
The suspects include Seraphin Twahirwa commonly known as Kihebe whose lawyer Vincent Lurquin and Pierre Basabose who is represented by his lawyer Jean Flamme.
The suspects were arrested in Belgium in September 2021 following arrest warrants by Rwanda while Belgium prosecution had initiated investigation around them.
The two are accused of Genocide crimes including arming and training interahamwe militia, constituting the lists of the Tutsi to be killed, erecting and being part of the roadblocks squad where the Tutsi were arrested and killed.
They are also accused of directly participating in killing the Tutsi while Twahirwa is also facing rape as crime against humanity.
For example, the prosecution presented twelve names of Tutsi women that were allegedly raped by the suspect, on top of other women whose identity was not clearly indicated.
They are alleged to have committed the crimes in Karambo village, Gikondo sector of Kicukiro district, their home place.
The suspects were brought together in the same trial simply because they committed the crimes in the same village and their charges are more or less the same.
Their trial was opened since October 9,2023 and will run through December.
Who is who?
Before the Genocide, Twahirwa left his home place of former Cyangugu prefecture to find his father who allegedly had abandoned his family and married another wife in Kigali.
The father hosted him in a boys’ quarter and he started as a bus conductor, then a mechanic at a city mogul’s garage.
This earned him an experience which took him to the Ministry of Infrastructure-Minitrap at that time as mechanic-driver.
He would have been involved in a car accident which led to the amputation of his leg.
On his side, Basabose was initially a soldier in the ex-Force armés Rwandaise who served as a driver for Col. Elie Sagatwa, brother-in-law and special secretary for the then president Juvénal Habyarimana.
After retiring from the army service in 1990 he joined the private sector in the service of foreign currency exchange in Kigali. He used to get a push from the first family, according to Prosecution.
He is allegedly the second biggest shareholder of the hate Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines, with Rwf 600,000 shares, only second after ex-president Habyarimana with Rwf 1 million.
While witnessing before court, Joseph Matata, a Rwandan in retirement aged 71, he testified to have known Twahirwa as leader of Interahamwe militia during the Genocide committed against Tutsi.
Last week, the court initiated the hearing starting from the suspects who pledged not guilty of all accounts, but said they were personally vulnerable and fearing for either their own life and most especially, the life of their spouses who were Tutsi.
They claimed to have been people of integrity who respected the human being.
However, the prosecution indicated that the suspects had influence in the country and had freedom to do whatever they want and to decide the fate of the Tutsi.
A French national witness of context, Helene Dumas 42 laid a foundation on Rwanda before the Genocide and how the leadership prepared the Genocide, executed it, and how Rwanda today rebuilt from the scratch.
From the defence however, attorney Flamme stood up as a lawyer who seeks to deny facts from Dumas, by rather attempting to deviate by just bringing other facts in the liberation struggle among others.