DNA proves paternity of son to Genocide victim in family row

Yves Tuyishimire (centre) with his lawyers during the hearing at the Supreme Court in Kigali on November 7, 2019. / Emmanuel Kwizera

The Supreme Court is working to finalise a case that has been in courts now for close to five years, in which a 27-year old man is battling an alleged uncle over the paternity of a victim of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Yves Tuyishimire, who was two years in 1994 says his father is Innocent Gusenga, who is among the victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi.


This claim is disputed by the deceased’s surviving brother, a one Job Aksante.


Tuyishimire first petitioned the court to authenticate his claim as a legitimate son to Gusenga after all avenues to amicably settle the matter with Aksante failed.


Tuyishimire principally went to court for two reasons; to gain the legitimacy to his paternal family lineage, and also benefit from the estate left by his late father.

The primary court, which based on witness testimonies, ruled in favour of Tuyishimire, a decision that was later successfully challenged by Aksante in the intermediate court.

The intermediate court quashed the ruling by the lower court, which automatically nullified the paternity claim.

Having exhausted all avenues in the court process, Tuyishimire decided to file is claim at the Supreme Court, in the department that handles injustice-related litigations.

Supreme Court then ordered that a DNA test be carried out with samples collected from Tuyishimire and the deceased’s remains which are interred at an unspecified Genocide memorial.

Other samples were collected on Aksante and other relatives and the results that were presented before the court yesterday showed a match, proving that indeed the deceased was Tuyishimire’s father.

The results were contained in a report that was presented to the court by officers from Rwanda Forensic Laboratory.

Sigh of relief

Addressing court, a sombre-looking Tuyishimire said that he was relieved the nightmare he had lived for years is finally coming to an end with the results.

“I have been taunted and branded a conman for claiming my birthright. I pray that court prefers criminal charges against this man (Aksante) for willfully subverting judicial processes,” said Tuyishimire.

He also asked that court compels his uncle to pay him damages, saying that over the years, he has spent over Rwf6m on legal fees and Rwf3m on other costs during the trial.

“I used to work with Aegis Trust but I lost my job because I was too consumed by this case. I hope the court can also look into this as well so I am fairly compensated,” he said.

However, Emmanuel Abijuru who is Aksante’s lawyer challenged the authenticity of the report, claiming that it should have been signed off by the Director-General of the Forensic Laboratory, or he would have presented it himself.

Among the other issues, Abijuru raised was that the report had a lot of professional jargon that could not be easily interpreted by the ordinary people.

He also said that only a day before the report was presented to the Supreme Court, the Forensic Laboratory had written to them informing them that there was a specific software that was not available and so report could not be finalised,

“To my surprise, only a day later, we are here and the report is complete. Considering the procurement procedures that have to be followed by government institutions, I wonder how they were able to get that software in that short time,” he said during the hearing presided over by Chief Justice Prof Sam Rugege.

In response, the experts from the Forensic Laboratory told the court that attaining a software does not go through the usual procurement processes, but rather a renewal of license with the software manufactures and it can only take hours.

The two experts from the Forensic Laboratory also explained the details of the report and answered questions from both the Chief Justice and the defendant’s lawyer concerning the procedures used to arrive at the results among other things.

On the defendant lawyer’s request concerning the report being presented by the D.G of the Forensic Laboratory, Rugege asked the defendant to submit a legal provision that invalidates the results if not presented by the head of the institution.

Following the arguments, Rugege said court would pronounce itself on the matter on November 22.


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