Gacaca Judge’s killers appear in court

SOUTHERN PROVINCE KARAMA — Eight people were arraigned in Nyanza High court on Thursday and charged with killing a Gacaca judge of Kabulemera, Paul Rutayisire.

SOUTHERN PROVINCE

KARAMA — Eight people were arraigned in Nyanza High court on Thursday and charged with killing a Gacaca judge of Kabulemera, Paul Rutayisire.

The suspects, Godlive Nyirakiromba, Antoine Twagirayezu (Nyikironba’s son), Jean Claude Kamanzi and Vianney Siborurema alias Kagina appeared before the High court judge but all denied the charges, ignoring the advice of the presiding judge, on the merits of confessing crime.

Others are: Narcisse Nshimiyimana alias Gasatsi, Samuel Mulindhabi, Athanase Mbonyimana, Felicien Nganabashaka and Monica Mukaruyonza.

Prosecution alleges that on Monday night October 15 2007, the suspects while drinking at a bar owned by Vianney Siborurema, hatched a plan to kill Rutayisire, with whom they were sharing local brew.

Rutayisire, a court Judge, a Gacaca witness and President of Genocide survivors in Karama Sector, is believed to have been killed at 9.00pm immediately after he left the bar. His mutilated body was discovered the following morning.

Defence lawyer for Nyirakiromba and her son Twagirayezu, Muhizi Olivier, prayed court to acquit the two saying there was no credible evidence to pin his clients.

“My clients are innocent. There is no sufficient evidence to show that Godlive Nyirakiromba, Antoine Twagirayezu killed Paul Rutayisire.” Muhizi said.

The eight face another count of destroying evidence of the 1994 Genocide since the deceased was a Genocide survivor and Gacaca witness. Prosecution prayed court to hand them a maximum sentence of life imprisonment to all the accused.

Court also heard that an axe believed to have been used to hack Rutayisire was found in Twagirayezu’s house. Also, blood stained coats belonging to Kamanzi and Nshimiyimana were reportedly found at the scene of death.

The suspects were all allowed to defend their role before a packed court room. Pierre Rudahunga representing the deceased’s family prayed court to award Frw310Million in damages, insisting that the case was just ‘a legal formality.’

“The defendants do not have the ability to pay this amount of money. We have done this because it is stipulated in the Law,” said Rudahunga who appeared visibly sad.

Court set February 14, for reading the verdict, of the case that lasted for seven hours. This is the second Genocide-related trial to be held in the area where the crime was committed in a space of three months.

In November last year, in Gisagara district, Damien Harindintware was sentenced to life in prison for killing his mother Costasia Mukamurara a Genocide survivor. The deceased, said to be a Tutsi had reportedly married a Hutu husband (Harindintware’s father).

The late Rutayisire is survived by wife and eight children all below eighteen years of age.

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