Innocent Bizimana, 27, is a shopkeeper in Kinyinya Sector, Gasabo District. Less than a month ago, a 3-year-old client went to his shop to buy airtime and Bizimana reportedly defiled her.
When her parents found out, they reported Bizimana to local authorities.
The local officials reconciled the child’s parents with her defiler and Bizimana was cleared of the crime.
Although the local authorities, through Abunzi, usually mediate to settle disputes in their communities, they don’t have jurisdiction to arbitrate in criminal cases.
A week after, five out of the seven local leaders who were involved in "settling" Bizimana’s defilement case were arrested by Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).
The arrested officials are being accused as accessory to defilement.
Marie Michelle Umuhoza, the RIB spokesperson, told the media that the Bureau decided to make the case public (although it is still in progress) because the public deserves to be informed that a crime as grave as defilement is non-negotiable in any way.
“This is a non-negotiable case. It is not up to them to sit and clear someone of a crime. That is why all the people involved were arrested. The prosecution will decide whether they have a case to answer or not,” she said.
There are cases that are not in the jurisdiction of local leaders, he said.
If found guilty, those accused of accessory may face six months to two years of imprisonment.
Umuhoza called for timely reporting of similar cases by locals.
Bizimana was on Friday last week paraded before the media alongside two other suspects.
One of them is Florient Niyodusaba a 39-year-old who is suspected to have murdered his wife (with whom they were unofficially married), Rosine Mukawizeye, on Christmas night.
Contrary to Bizimana who denies all the accusations, Niyodusaba admits the crimes, apologizes and regrettably blames the misdoing on alcohol.
“Alcohol is evil. I was drunk when I killed her, I think she was too. I advise everyone to stop drinking and control their temper. I feel terrible right now,” he regrets.
As the law provides, if the suspects get convicted, Bizimana might get up to 25 years or life imprisonment for defilement, Niyodusaba could get a life sentence for murder.Follow Ange_Iliza