MUSANZE – Genocide survivors in the former Ruhengeri prefecture have expressed displeasure at the acquittal of the former Prefect, Protais Zigiranyirazo, saying justice has been abused.
Various survivors said by exonerating the former clique ‘Akazu’ member, the tribunal had failed to bring to book, the brains behind the genocide in the area.
Epimaque Sanvura, 50, a former judicial police official in 1994 and a member of Zigiranyirazo’s former foot ball club, Mukungwa FC, said Mr ‘Z’ chaired all the meetings of councilors, and Burgomasters who acted on his instructions during the genocide.
Sanvura said in Rubaya , Nyabihu district the home area of Zigiranyirazo, over 1,000 people were killed by the Interahamwe he had trained and armed.
“He was the brains behind the formation of ‘Akazu’, he had people around him, his word was final, the policy of creating young interahamwe militias and arming them was his,’’ Sanvura said.
Regarded in high esteem in the former regime and the most respected local leader at the time, Zigiranyirazo was considered the ‘president’ of Ruhengeri prefecture and an invisible force within the local security apparatus.
Yves Nkusi, who lived in Ruhengeri as the genocide was unfolding, recalled that when the former President Juvénal Habyarimana’s plane crushed, Zigiranyirazo rallied councilors, the Burgomaster, and interahamwe leaders at Hotel Palme Beach, in Gisenyi where he gave orders of eliminating the Tutsi.
“Zigiranyirazo appointed all the councilors and Burgomasters of the sectors throughout the prefecture, he picked only those who were loyal to him, he arranged the meetings to exterminate the Tutsi,’’ Nkusi added.