Genocide survivors protest freeing of murder suspects

SOUTHERN PROVINCE NYANZA — Genocide survivors in Karama wailed loudly and uttered verbal insults this Thursday in protest against the acquittal of five of the nine suspects in the murder of a Gacaca court president.

SOUTHERN PROVINCE

NYANZA — Genocide survivors in Karama wailed loudly and uttered verbal insults this Thursday in protest against the acquittal of five of the nine suspects in the murder of a Gacaca court president.

High Court sitting in Nyanza handed life sentences and a cash fine amounting to Frw43 million to four people found guilty of killing Paul Rutayisire, former Gacaca judge of Kabulemera, but acquitted five others who Genocide survivors in the area allege masterminded the killing.

Court ruled that prosecution did not produce sufficient evidence to implicate Jean Claude Kamanzi, Athanase Mbonyimana, Antoine Twagirayezu, Felicien Nganabashaka and Monica Mukaruyonza in the murder.

Rutayisire who also acted as vice president of IBUKA- an association of Genocide survivors in the Sector was killed on Monday October 15, 2007 at around 9.00pm as he left a bar near his home.

Those found guilty are: Godlive Nyirakiromba, Vianney Siborurema alias Kagina, Narcisse Nshimiyimana Alias Gasatsi and Samuel Mulindahabi.

The ruling that was read in the absence of the defendants attracted angry reactions from Genocide survivors among them family and relatives of the deceased. Infuriated Survivors particularly protested the acquittal of Kamanzi Jean-Claude and Twagirayezu Antoine.

During the trial held on January 17, prosecution alleged that an axe believed to have been used in the killing of Rutayisire was found at Twagirayezu’s house and that a coat belonging to one suspect Kamanzi, was stained with blood believed to be that of the deceased.

However, reading the verdict, court ruled that the blood stains on the coat could have been of anything else and that prosecution failed to prove that the axe used as exhibit was the one used to hack the deceased.

The suspects had been charged on two counts; murder and destroying evidence of the 1994 Genocide since the deceased was a Genocide survivor, a court Judge and Gacaca witness. The accusers have the opportunity to appeal the verdict.

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