Tite Barahira’s proverbial nine lives of cat got exhausted, yesterday, after French authorities arrested the Genocide suspect in Toulouse for his alleged role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Tite Barahira, a former leader of Commune Kabarondo (1977-1986) in eastern Rwanda, is accused of conspiring to commit Genocide, among other crimes.
Barahira, who disguised himself by changing his name to Barahirwa, has been subject to investigation since 2011.
Rwanda issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged role in the Genocide that claimed more than a million Tutsis.
His arrest comes on the heel of another Paris turn-around when a French court ordered that Pascal Simbikangwa, a Genocide suspect in France too, be put on trial.
The head of a French activist association, Collectif des Parties Civiles Pour le Rwanda (CPCR), Alain Gauthier, was quoted by Midi, a southern France daily, saying the arrest of Barahira is important since it might ease the investigation of other Genocide suspects on the French territory.
The suspect also served as director of Electrogaz (now EWSA - water and energy regulator) in Kibungo prefecture.
Speaking to The New Times, Alain Mukuralinda, the spokesperson of Rwandan Prosecution Authority, said they had sent Barahira’s charge file to Paris in 2009.
“He is notorious for having led the interahamwe militia attacks that killed thousands of Tutsis at Kiziguro Parish in Kabarondo, a commune he led in the 1980s,” Mukuralinda said.
He said Rwanda wishes to have all the Genocide suspects tried in Kigali.
But he added: “The most important thing is to have them arrested and tried even in the foreign countries; justice is the most important.”
Mukuralinda said the French courts and their prosecution are welcome to Rwanda to investigate the crimes Barahira is accused of committing during the Genocide.
“It seems the French justice is now catching up, which is good news to us. Let’s just wait and see what follows,” said Gauthier. “We need to keep rooting for justice in favour of Genocide victims and their families.”
CPCR, which is committed to tracking down Genocide fugitives residing in France, believes that more than 25 suspects of the massacres during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, go about their business in France with no fear of arrest.
French judges have previously travelled to Rwanda to investigate allegations against Genocide fugitives on French soil, but with no tangible impact.