Justice is finally being served! Two Rwandan ex-majors who were involved in the 1994 genocide that claimed thousands of lives are set to go on trial on Tuesday May 10, in France.
The Rwandan genocide which is known officially in Rwanda as the Genocide against the Tutsi, was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by the government which then comprised of a Hutu majority.
An estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994, involving as many as 70% of the Tutsis and 20% of Rwanda’s total population
Rwanda has accused France of complicity in the genocide. The Rwandan government accused the French government of knowing of preparations for the genocide and helping to train Hutu militia members because of its unwavering support for the Hutu nationalist government at the time.
The ex-majors, Octavien Ngenzi, 58, and Tito Barahira, 64 will go on trial on Tuesday because of the direct role they played in the massacre of hundreds of Tutsi refugees in a church in the eastern town of Kabarondo on the 13th April, 1994.
In 2009, they were both sentenced to life imprisonment by Rwandan people’s courts, known as gacaca. They were not present at the sentencing.
Octavien and Tito denied carrying out “massive and systematic summary executions” and implementing a “concerted plan aimed at the annihilation” of the Tutsi minority.
According to their lawyers, there were “contradictions” in witness testimony.
The trial comes two weeks after that of a former Rwandan army captain, Pascal Simbikangwa who was jailed for his part in the massacre.
According to the defence, the trial is “political”.
President of the Collective of Civil Plaintiffs for Rwanda (CCPR), Alain Gauthier whose wife lost her mother and some other relatives said: “With this second trial, we will be dealing with a much more concrete genocide, with victims. He said, “There are around 50 witnesses coming from Rwanda,”
800,000 men, women, and children perished in the Rwandan genocide in the weeks after April 6, 1994. Also, thousands of Hutu were murdered because they opposed the killing campaign and the forces directing it.