GATSIBO - Genocide survivors in the former Murambi Commune (Eastern Province), have pinned their former Mayor, Jean Baptiste Gatete, currently under trial at the ICTR, for being the principle architect of massacres that occurred in Kiziguro, during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Gatete faces six counts that include, Genocide or in the alternative complicity in Genocide, conspiracy to commit Genocide, and extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity.
The survivors, mainly those who witnessed the killings at Kiziguro parish, requested that prosecutors visit the area and gather enough evidence against the suspect.
They accuse the 56 year-old former Bourgmestre, of directly orchestrating the killings at Kiziguro Church.
One survivor narrated how since 1992, Gatete had overseen the digging of manholes in Kiziguro and Ndatemwa in preparations for the carnage.
“Look at this memorial site. He (Gatete) financed people to dig it…don’t you think he had a mission for it?’ A survivor asked as he pointed to Kiziguro Memorial cemetery.
Gatete is also accused of turning an old quarry into a graveyard.
“That stone quarry was a death spot for many Tutsis in Murambi between 1993 and 94. Gatete commanded Interahamwe militias to transport Tutsi to this place in trucks where they were hacked to death and dumped,” another survivor who only identified him self as Felicien said.
“Gatete used to move around in early 1990s threatening Tutsis that their days were numbered. Later, he would send groups of youths…passing at every Tutsi home counting them and looting cows.
“As we had gone to seek refugee in Kiziguro parish, Gatete came one evening and took my two brothers outside and they were later found dead.”
Gatete, was the fourth on the list of the five Genocide suspects whom the ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow had requested that they be transferred to Rwanda as part of the ICTR completion strategy.
The Genocide suspect was the Mayor of Murambi from 1987 to 1993 and a member of the National Congress of the National Republican Movement for Development and Democracy (MRND).