How do you react to the death of a thoroughly obnoxious individual? Do you regret his passing, feel sorry that a human life has been lost and mourn him? Do you thank God that he has finally removed from this world an unrepentant evil man responsible for creating hell on earth? Or rejoice and wish he is put in the hottest, most painful spot in hell? Do you sigh with relief that the world is rid of another monster? Or shrug your shoulders and say, well, that’s the way of the world; we all die, even those who think they can command death and the extermination of fellow human beings? Death, even of such creatures as Theoneste Bagosora, one of the principal architects of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994, occasions this sort of conflicting reactions. It is difficult to imagine anyone apart from family feeling sad that he is gone. But strange things happen. Indeed, Rwandans have a saying that recognises this unusual behaviour. They say, nta murozi wabuze umukarabya (even witches and sorcerers have their advocates).. There will be some who will mourn him. His own kind, monsters like him. The instigators, backers and disseminators of evil deeds. But even with these, it is difficult to imagine how they can get the will to summon any sympathy for the man and accord him human dignity which he denied others all his life. Unless, of course, they are so thoroughly wicked that they are incapable of seeing the evil Bagosora visited on innocent people and his homeland, or they are complicit in these deeds. Or they give little or no value to the lives of his victims. They will probably eulogise him and regret that he has gone too soon and has left behind a void difficult to fill. The void bit is true. There can’t be many that can match his evil and so none can fill this gap of wickedness. It is a gap that everyone would be glad to remain unfilled. Untimely departure? He should have left a lot sooner, not grow to the ripe old age of eighty. They should have no complaints. One wonders, though, in the last years of an undeserved long life, in the comfort of his prison cell in Mali, away from pressures and distractions of any kind, did he take time to reflect on his life and deeds and smile with a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment? Did he perchance feel remorseful and repentant and wish he had lived his life differently, and plead with his maker for more time to make amends? That is improbable. His most likely regret must have been that his final solution plans did not come to pass as he had calculated. And so he goes to his grave a bitter man, with mission not fully accomplished and diabolical mind unchanged. Those that will mourn him will probably say they have lost a leader. They should take heart; they have lost nothing except embarrassment and doom. He was only leading them to damnation and hell. They should actually feel relieved that they have been saved. Some might even say he was a good man who served his country well and deserves its gratitude. That is inconceivable except maybe said with tongue in cheek. But that, too, is not possible. Bagosora was not the sort to inspire a sense of humour. Everyone who has met or known him speaks of him as a creepy fellow around whom hung an eerie sense of evil. Among these, there are some religious believers who usually commend the spirit of the departed to God for inclusion among the righteous. They must be having a nightmare trying to reconcile social and religious convention with the reality of the life of the man whose cause they plead. Can anyone in good conscience plead with God to have mercy on the man, forgive him his iniquities and grant him eternal repose? And now for the response of those who see his death differently and would rather rejoice. That probably makes you uneasy. You are a deeply religious person, or have been brought up on notions of fairness even to the most devilish and never to speak ill of the departed. And so praying for another’s suffering even if they deserve worse is really going against the grain. On reflection, though, you conclude that this is not wishing anyone ill. It is the truth and is all you can find about him. It is what fairness and justice demand and no less than what he has earned. Even in the afterlife, people get what they deserve. That should put you at ease. But other issues come to your mind. If he is in hell as you think he should and has a chance to look to the other place and sees the faces of all the people he helped dispatch from this world, what will he feel? Regret that he did not finish his job? Futility that it came to nought? Angry with God that he received his victims but banished him to everlasting pain? Will he want to kill God for slighting him and rewarding the others, his victims? You can’t put it past the man. It is hard to be generous in these circumstances, and even harder to imagine Bagosora as a normal human being deserving of sympathy and prayer for eternal rest in peace. There is only one certainty: an evil man has departed; a monster is no more. May he get his due reward. The views expressed in this article are of the writer.