State angered by Ndayizeye comments on 1994 Genocide

KIGALI - Prosecution has expressed discontent over recent comments by former Burundian President Domitien Ndayizeye on the ongoing efforts to prosecute Burundian nationals who participated in the 1994 Genocide.Ndayizeye, over a BBC Kinyarwanda-Kirundi programme on Saturday, defended Burundians saying that there was no way they would commit Genocide ‘because they were never integrated in the Rwandan society.’

KIGALI - Prosecution has expressed discontent over recent comments by former Burundian President Domitien Ndayizeye on the ongoing efforts to prosecute Burundian nationals who participated in the 1994 Genocide.
Ndayizeye, over a BBC Kinyarwanda-Kirundi programme on Saturday, defended Burundians saying that there was no way they would commit Genocide ‘because they were never integrated in the Rwandan society.’

“Why doesn’t he leave the judiciary to take its course? We made thorough and comprehensive investigations before we came up with this list,” said Augustin Nkusi, the Spokesman for the Prosecution.

Prosecution has already finalized a list of 696 Burundians who were then refugees but had a role in the 1994 Tutsi Genocide that left over one million dead.

“That list did not come out of imagination…and in any case those are not the only Burundian refugees in the country.

The reason they are on the list is because there was conclusive evidence to that effect. Why politicize a matter that is purely judicial?” Nkusi wondered at his office in Kimihurura.

Ndayizeye in the weekly programme also said that there were also Burundians who died in Rwanda during the Genocide, including their President, Cyprien Ntaryamira who died in the plane crash that killed Rwanda’s former President Juvenal Habyarimana.

To this, Nkusi said that he should elaborate.
“He only mentions Burundians who died but does not substantiate how these people died. Is he trying to compare the dead of these Burundians to the Genocide that targeted innocent civilians who were killed only because they were Tutsi? This is absurd,” said Nkusi, who is also a senior prosecutor.

He said that the fact that these utterances were made by a former president gives it more value “and this cannot be taken lightly.”

He said that the process that was used in unearthing the Burundian perpetrators was through the Gacaca courts and according to the findings, many of them were in the Southern Province.

Investigations on
Responding to allegations that he himself could be on the list of suspects, Ndayizeye who resided in Rwanda for some time before the Genocide, said that this could not have happened because he had already gone back home by 1994.

But prosecution maintains that crimes of the Rwanda Genocide did not only occur in 1994 but covered the period between 1990 and 1994.

“Despite the fact that he is not on the current list, we are still investigating him over the role he may have had in inciting Burundians to participate in the Genocide,” Nkusi said.

He however said that they cannot draw any conclusions on this particular case as investigations are still on.

Meanwhile, Gilbert Ndikumana, a brother to Ndayizeye was tried and convicted after confessing to having played a role in the killings in Tumba in the Southern Province.

“He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and has since served his sentence and is still a resident in the area,” Nkusi said.

According to reliable sources, Ndayizeye--who was Burundian President until three years ago when he was replaced by Jean Pierre Nkurunziza--had during his tenure as President approached some officials in the judiciary asking them to drop charges against his brother.

Burundians who are accused of having heavily participated in the Genocide were in several camps across the country and had fled to Rwanda following the 1993 coup that deposed and subsequently left dead former President Melchior Ndadaye.

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