EDITORIAL: Finally, justice catches up with Bukibaruta

One man’s streak of luck for eluding justice for over two decades is running out pretty soon.

Laurent Bukibaruta was the Prefet (Governor) of Gikongoro in southern Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. That part of Rwanda experienced some of the most horrendous acts of Genocide and Bukibaruta was in the thick of it.

At a technical school in Murambi, he ordered a census of all Tutsi who had taken refuge there with the ruse of coming to their aid. They were 50,000. He ordered they be killed and when the guns had fallen silent, only ten people survived.

Bukibaruta and another notorious genocidaire, Fr Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a Catholic priest at Ste. Famille Parish in Kigali, were indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal. Then in a surprise move, it transferred their cases to France where they had been residing.

A French warrant of arrest for both men was signed in 2007 then nothing was heard of it. So it was a kind of a pleasant surprise to learn that at last the French judicial system has risen out of its stupor and decided that it had enough evidence to warrant Bukibaruta’s trial.

Bukibaruta had protectors in high places that kept justice at bay for far too long. The fact that the infamous Operation Turqouise had its presence in Gikongoro has something to do with it. Bukibaruta shared many secrets with top French military officials and had to be protected.

Now his luck has run out and could finally see justice serve its purpose. Pressure should now be brought to bear against Fr. Munyeshyaka, that even the Vatican’s protection is not enough and that Genocide has no end-by date. It will catch up with him.

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