Pte Theogene Sinumvayabo of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), who shot and killed his sister and her husband last month, was, yesterday, handed a life sentence by the Military High Court.
One of the judges, Capt. Claude Kaberuka, told court that Sinumvayabo’s earlier plea for mercy was quashed since he was not under the influence of alcohol when he committed the crime as he claimed.
“The activities of Pte Theogene Sinumvayabo, indicate that he clearly had properly premeditated the crime,” Kaberuka noted before announcing the final verdict of the court which sat at Kimisagara sector, the scene of the crime.
“He accepted the crime since he was caught red-handed, but denied having had intent to kill them. That shows lack of speaking the truth and points to lack of remorse,” the judge said.
In the evening of September 10, Sinumvayabo killed Jozefa Mukamugyema and her husband Innocent Nzapfakumunsi in cold blood. The accused had earlier been at the couple’s bar in Kimisagara, allegedly to ask them to refund his Rwf100,000.
After a misunderstanding, an infuriated Sinumvayabo went back to his military unit in Nyanza, Kicukiro, where he managed to sneak out with a gun.
He admitted, before court, having returned to the couple’s home late in the night and waited at the door until about 6a.m., the next day. When the children opened the door, he went in, shot and instantly killed the couple, before he was arrested by police shortly after.
The defendant walked out of court under guard into a military police truck but family and relatives of the deceased couple were still visibly frightened. Despite safety assurances from the prosecutor, Vestine Nzaribwirende, a relative, looked very scared.
“I fear he could escape and then come and kill me as well because he had even said he wants to destroy us all. He has that plan and we wanted to let those in charge know it,” Nzaribwirende said.
Court also expelled Sinumvayabo from the military and stripped him of his civil rights.
The court session was presided over by Maj. Bernard Ndayisaba, the president of the Military High Court.
Sinumvayabo has 30 days to appeal the verdict.