JUSTICE - A senior advisor to Prime Minister Bernard Makuza has fled the country allegedly in fear of being tried by a Gacaca court for his alleged role in the 1994 Genocide. Jean Pierre Kagubari, who was in charge of external relations in the premier’s office, escaped recently, and reliable sources say he is in Belgium.
He is accused of having directly participated in Genocide crimes in the former Butare province (now Southern Province) in 1994 when he was a student at the National University of Rwanda (NUR).
Witnesses allege that Kagubari was seen manning roadblocks and illegally possessed a gun during the Genocide.
Dr Faustin Kigabo, a Genocide convict serving 30 years in prison, testified that he personally gave a gun to Kagubari to use at roadblocks.
According to Gacaca officials from Butare in Huye District, Kagubari first appeared before court late last year. At that time, he denied the allegations leveled against him before the Ngoma Sector Gacaca Court before he fled in fear for eventual prosecution.
When contacted, the Executive Secretary of the National Service for Gacaca Jurisdictions, Domitilla Mukantaganzwa, confirmed Kagubari’s case but said she was yet to get its details.
She said that Kagubari, who hails from the former Byumba province (now shared between the Eastern and Northern provinces), is alleged to have committed genocide crimes in the Southern Province.
Sources close to Makuza’s office said that Kagubari was offered a working trip to Belgium a few days before the court cleared him. But he remained there instead of returning home.
And sources added that the Prime Minister’s Office helped Kagubari flee by offering him leave without pay.
During his absence, Kagubari was summoned by the same Gacaca court, to no avail.
When contacted, the Minister of Information in the Prime Minister’s Office Prof. Laurent Nkusi, said he didn’t have details of Kagubari’s alleged escape.
“He once worked in my office but by the time he disappeared he was working under the Prime Minister’s Office,” Nkusi said. However, the Director of Cabinet in the Office of the Prime Minister, Vincent Ryamugema, said that Kagubari resigned from his position.
He denied knowledge about his former colleague’s role in the Genocide.
“He sent in a resignation letter to us in his absence and we immediately informed the Ministry of Labour and Public Service to arrange for his replacement,” Ryamugema said. He added: “I am not at all informed about his Gacaca case and our office did not assist him in fleeing the country.”