The decision by the Cour d’assises de Paris to hand former Gikongoro prefet Laurent Bucyibaruta a 20-year jail sentence for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi sends a strong message to Genocide fugitives and deniers that truth is catching up with them, survivors and observors say. A senior Rwandan government official has also welcomed the ruling, saying its a reminder that the crime of genocide never expires. According to Jean Damascene Bizimana, the Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement (MINUBUMWE), Bucyibaruta’s conviction is a lesson learned and will help in fighting against Genocide. His conviction is a lesson to other perpetrators that the Genocide is an imprescriptible crime and can be tried worldwide, he said. “This will help to show the young generation that the Genocide has perpetrators and learn from history to keep what has been achieved within the past 28 years, as well as strive for unity among Rwandans to fight against genocide.” Bizimana went ahead to welcome the development calling it a major step toward justice, highlighting how the convict played a key role in the planning and implementation of the Genocide. “He used the forces led by Colonel Simba and Captain Faustin Sebuhura to exterminate the Tutsi in Murambi, Cyanika, Kaduha, and different places including Maheresho, Kibeho, Muganza, Musange, Kirambi among other places,” he said. In addition, he revealed that in just three sites; Cyanika, Murambi, and Kaduha, more than 120,000 Tutsis were killed and former Gikongoro is the second prefecture after Kibuye where families were completely lost. “It is a great development to justice and memory. We believe that other cases will also be expedited because the 28 years of impunity are many,” he added. Speaking to The New Times, Dr. Jean-Pierre Karegeye, professor in the United States and director of The Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Centre, said that his sentence shows that genocide is a despicable act. “It also makes it possible to restore the truth about the genocide and will help to fight against genocide denial,” he added. Caritas Mukangango, a Genocide survivor from Kaduha, said that Bucyibaruta’s conviction will help a lot in fighting Genocide denial, and also, it is a way of giving justice to survivors in general. “Being tried outside Rwanda as well as finding him guilty is a big step toward the fight against Genocide. We are happy that he was finally tried and sentenced after 28 years,” she said. Mukangango however pointed out that they wished for a longer sentence given the nature of the crime, as well as the power he had back then, “he would have saved many lives instead of letting them be killed.” Bucyibaruta is the fifth Genocide convict tried and sentenced in France. The first one was Pascal Simbikangwa, who was sentenced to 25 years in 2014, followed by the joint trial of Tito Barahira and Octavien Ngenzi who were both handed life imprisonment in 2016, and Claude Muhayimana who was sentenced to 14 years in prison last year. France remains a haven for many masterminds of the Genocide, in which over a million Tutsi were killed. Others include Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a former Catholic priest in Rwanda, Callixte Mbarushimana, Laurent Serubuga, a former colonel, former Minister of Public Works, Hyacinthe Nsengiyumva Rafiki, and Sosthene Munyemana, nicknamed “the butcher of Tumba” for atrocities he was involved in southern Rwanda among others.