KARONGI- Drama ensued yesterday as a Gacaca Court in Karongi District threw out an appeal contesting a life sentence handed to a Genocide suspect convicted earlier this month.
The suspect, Enos Kagaba, who was deported from the United States, six years ago, denied having any knowledge of what happened in the country saying he was abroad during the Genocide.
The statement was viewed as a mockery, throwing a fully packed courtroom into prolonged laughter because in 1994, Kagaba is known to have been the Director of Studies at Mugonero Secondary School, where thousands of victims perished.
In his defence, Kagaba maintained that an American court had tried and cleared him of any involvement in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“You have no credibility to try me because an American court found me innocent and therefore I have no case to answer,” a defiant Kagaba insisted.
But the court, made up of five judges, still ruled that Kagaba, 55, played a major role in the Western Province during the 1994 slaughter.
Presiding judge Ides Ruzigana also convicted Kagaba on three counts; leading armed Interahamwe militias to various designated killing sites, chairing planning meetings and harbouring the Genocide ideology.
Kagaba who is accused of masterminding killings at Murambi Seventh Day Adventist Church and Bisesero, first refused to sign the judicial statement after the verdict, but later gave in.
Meanwhile, the same court acquitted Abidan Ngezahayo, who had earlier been sentenced to 20 years in jail.
He had been arrested after saying that he attended meetings with Kagaba to prepare the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi but denied any involvement in the killings.
Ngezahayo, the head teacher at Tyazo Secondary School in Nyamasheke District, was found innocent.
Shortly after the Genocide, Kagaba fled the country through the Democratic Republic of Congo to Zambia, where he worked as a teacher for over 10 years.
He later moved to USA and was deported in May 2005, following an arrest warrant issued by the Rwandan government.