The French Cour d’assises de Paris will on Tuesday July 12 issue a verdict in trial of former Gikongoro prefet, Laurent Bucyibaruta, that has been underway for two months where he was pinned on his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. This follows the closing of the case last week, where prosecution sought life sentence for the man who is responsible for the death of thousands in the former Gikongoro Prefecture in southern Rwanda, where he was the prefet. His substantive trial started on May 9 and he faces charges of genocide, complicity in genocide and complicity in crimes against humanity, which he all denies. The prosecution team comprised on Céline Viguier and Sophie Havard requested on Friday life imprisonment on grounds that he constituted “an essential component that facilitated the implantation of the Genocide against the Tutsis”. Bucyibaruta, who has been dubbed by survivors ‘the Butcher of Gikongoro’ is specifically accused of masterminding the massacres of Tutsis in Murambi, Cyanika, Kaduha and Kibeho. Particularly, in Murambi over 50,000 Tutsis were exterminated on Bucyibaruta’s command, making it one of the most horrific killing grounds during the 100-day massacre. There are more than 25,000 victims killed in Cyanika, while 47,311 were killed in Kaduha and 28,937 in Kibeho. The places constituted the former Gikongoro prefecture that Bucyibaruta was a prefet for and he is alleged to have overseen all the mentioned killings, making him the ‘Butcher of Gikongoro’. In Gikongoro (present-day Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru districts), where he became prefet (or governor) in July 1992 through 1994, he’s most remembered for his December 1993 hate speech at a local market in which he appealed for financial support to procure weapons to eliminate the ‘Tutsi enemy’. He is also accused of planning and directing massacres at different places, including places of worship and schools, across Gikongoro. Bucyibaruta was also an active member of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), the ruling party at the time, and the head of the prefectural committee of the Interahamwe militia, the paramilitary faction of MRND mostly blamed for the Genocide. In seeking a life sentence, the prosecution urged that Bucyibaruta as a senior civil servant failed in his duty to protect the Tutsi of his prefecture when he had the means to act. The prosecution says Bucyibaruta “consciously executed the directives aimed at the eradication of the Tutsis passed them on to all the links in the administrative chain.” Lead Prosecutor, Sophie Havard told the court that This man (Bucyibaruta) did not kill anyone with his hands but he has on him the blood of all the victims killed in Gikongoro.” Although Bucyibaruta denied all the charges claiming that he didn’t know what was going on because he ‘was busy in the office working’, prosecutor Havard told the court that no one could be unaware of what was being prepared and later on happening.” After the Genocide, Bucyibaruta fled to neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and later on managed to fly to France. The case of Bucyibaruta and Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a catholic priest, were referred to the French judiciary for trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda over 15 years ago.