Reports that French investigating judges have ordered the return to court of Rwandan Genocide suspect Dr. Eugene Rwamucyo have rekindled hope that justice will be served.
Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, president of Ibuka, the umbrella organisation for survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, on Friday, September 16, told The New Times that France has now made a step in the right direction.
It is not yet clear when the trial will resume but reports indicate that Rwamucyo - one of the masterminds of the Genocide against the Tutsi in southern Rwanda, in 1994 – will be taken to the Cour d’Assises, which handles cases of genocide and war crimes.
France-based rights group, the Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), which has for two decades worked to bring Genocide suspects in France to book, filed a case against Rwamucyo, 61, in 2007.
Dusingizemungu said: "This is a reawakening. They (French judicial authorities) have given it some clear thought. This is good and they should maintain momentum because the road ahead is long. This development should also send a message to other genocidaires roaming around freely.
"The crime of Genocide does not expire. Many other different countries ought to get rid of their tarnished image of not pursuing and bringing to justice these genocide suspects. Same applies to countries in Africa; they should move faster."
During the Genocide, Rwamucyo was a medical doctor in Butare, current Huye.
He worked at the University Centre for Public Health (CUSP), at the University Teaching hospital and lectured at the then National University of Rwanda. More than 400 students and staff at the university were killed during the Genocide.
Rwamucyo was a member of the notorious ‘war committee’ that planned and executed Genocide against the Tutsi in Butare. He is accused of planning the killing of Tutsi students and patients at the hospital.
In May, the CPCR noted that 13 years after it filed a case against Rwamucyo, Prosecutors were set to initiate a trial.
At the time, Daphrose Mukarumongi, a CPCR co-founder who lives in the city of Reims, told The New Times that the decision that Rwamucyo would be tried at the Cour d’Assises, based on what investigations revealed, was made on April 17.
In September 2010, a French court blocked the extradition to Rwanda of Dr Rwamucyo. The court in Versailles, just outside Paris, also freed Rwamucyo, who had been arrested at a funeral earlier in May. Back then, French judges ruled that suspects extradited to Rwanda cannot expect a fair trial.
"Lately, it is apparent that there is good cooperation between judicial organs in Rwanda and those from abroad," Dusingizemungu said.
French authorities earlier this year cooperated in the arrest of suspected genocide mastermind Félicien Kabuga who had evaded capture for two decades.
According to CPCR president Alain Gauthier, the news of the trial is something to rejoice about.
Gauthier is especially happy that four such suspects who his group has pursued for long will appear before the Assize Court.
Gauthier said the four genocidaires are Claude Muhayimana, whose trial is scheduled for next February, Laurent Bucyibaruta and Sosthène Munyemana whose confirmation is awaited following the appeal they lodged, and Rwamucyo "who will probably not fail to appeal."
Gauthier said: "Despite the slowness of justice that we keep denouncing, these decisions can only consolidate our determination that all those who suspected for participating in the Genocide against the Tutsi and who believed they could be forgotten in France can finally appear in court."Follow https://twitter.com/KarhangaJames