The court of Assises in Brussels will today read the verdict in a case involving two Rwandans who have been on trial for genocide crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.
The trial of the two suspects – Pierre Basabose and Seraphin Twahirwa- kicked off on October 10, 2023 with testimonies of survivors and an ex-wife to one of the suspects indicating how the duo committed the alleged genocide crimes.
Twahirwa is accused of having led the extremist Hutu militia group (Interahamwe) primarily responsible for the attack on the Tutsis in Kigali (in Karambo cell, Gatenga sector, Kicukiro district), as well as being personally responsible for a number of murders and rapes.
Twahirwa’s ex-wife testified against him, claiming that Twahirwa openly boasted to her about the young girls he raped, while Twahirwa’s defense team claimed that he would have physically been unable to rape anyone, since he has worn a leg prosthesis for many years.
Barabosé, on the other hand, is a businessman and ex-Rwandan soldier accused of having funded both money and arms to the Interahamwe to execute the crimes.
Felix Kabandana, a genocide survivor who also testified against the two suspects, told KT Press that he has hope that the judges will judge the case with due diligence as a court following the testimonies of the many survivors who appeared before the court.
Kabandana said that the witness testimonies were enough to prove how Twahirwa was the executoner of the genocide plans that were planned and financed by his co- accused (Basabose) who allegedly participated in the genocide crimes committed in Karambo cell, Gatenga sector, Kicukiro district in Kigali City.
“I am sure we will get justice because the testimonies we were able to present before the court are enough evidence to convict the two suspects,” Kabandana said.
Kabandana said that the fact that the jailed genocide convicts were able to testify against the suspects is another additional aspect which is very important fact to be considered in the verdict.
“If the convicts can give witness on how Twahirwa was the leader and supplier of weapons and trainer on site, this is information that is very critical in the case. We believe this is tangible information for the court to deliver justice to the victims,” Kabandana said.
The two suspects have since the begining of the trial denied that allegations of their clients committing genocide, but Kabandana says that the defense arguements were not substantial to deny what happened and the excution of justice instead focused on negotionism of the genocide ideology.
“This kind of negationism and genocide ideology where history is distorted is common between clients and defense lawyers and we are not surprise in such trials cases but believe that justice will be delivered,” Kabandana said.
Andre-Martin Karongozi, the genocide victims and survivor’s defense lawyer in Belgium said the suspects continued to deny knowledge of the alleged crimes committed and even the expertise information has distorted the facts of what happened during the genocide, despite the some of the experts in the case are Rwandans- such as Joseph Matata and Andre Gishawa.