RUSIZI - A Gacaca court yesterday sentenced Elysee Bisengimana, a former Member of Parliament to 19 years in prison for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Bisengimana, 43, was sentenced by a panel of Gacaca judges in Gihundwe Sector, Rusizi District after finding him guilty of complicity in the murder of several Tutsis at Groupe Scolaire Gihundwe.
The victims, who died at the hands of the former lawmaker according to the judges, included Deogratias Hakizimana, Daniel Ndushabandi Alias Ndago, all former employees of the school.
He was also convicted of torturing and harassing Jean Claude Tabaro and Sosthene Harerimana and having mobilized and worked with Interahamwe militias in the killing of several Tutsis in the former Cyangugu prefecture.
“Due to the overwhelming evidence from the witnesses, we find you guilty of crimes leveled against you and you will serve 19 years in prison pursuant to the rules and regulations that govern Gacaca proceedings” ruled court president Kalibana Marara.
The sentence was handed down following a ten-hour deliberation amongst the judges.
Bisengimana’s co-accused, Gabriel Murwanashyaka, a former teacher at Groupe Scolaire Gihundwe, was handed a 30-year imprisonment.
Bisengimana who was an MP from 1999 to 2008 was arrested mid February this year and has been detained at Cyangugu Central Prison in Kamembe, after the Gacaca court noticed that he planned to flee the country.
Since his arrest, the former lawmaker who was at one time the Prefect of Cyangugu Prefecture, had been escorted everyday from the prison to appear before the court that convened at the school where the massive killings took place.
Like Bisengimana, Murwanashyaka is accused of having participated in the killing of many Tutsis in Cyangugu.
Other co-accused of Bisengimana who were also sentenced included: Emmanuel Mugabo who was sentenced to 8years, Razaro Ndamijimana (30 years), Martin Seromba (5 years) and Razaro Mpakaniye (19 years).
Others are Jean Pierre Nsanzurwimo (19 years), Elphaze Gahera (30 years) and Gabriel Kapitura who was imprisoned for 19 years.
Immediately after the court session, Bisengimana and his co-accused were returned to Cyangugu Central Prison in Kamembe sector in a pick-up amidst tight security.