She is a former Minister of Family and Women Promotion, a mother and a national leader, yet she did not feel any remorse for those young girls whom she ordered her son along with a mob of militias his cohort to mercilessly rape before killing them.
This is Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the only woman on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) who on Monday the tribunal’s prosecution argued for a life sentence.
Without being sub judice by discussing a matter on which a court of law has not pronounced itself, the deeds of Nyiramasuhuko cannot simply be shoved aside as we wait for the Trial Chamber to come up with a verdict.
We have heard women throughout the gruesome eight-year course of the trial, testifying how this woman ordered her son to rape—not only girls but old women too, as she watched!
Her son Arsene Sharlom Ntahobari is also standing trial alongside her and others in the famous ‘Butare Trial’ consisting of masterminds of the Genocide in Butare town.
The prosecutor asking for the heaviest sentence the UN Court can give to all the accused in this case has every reason given the cruelty Nyiramasuhuko and her cronies subjected to the Tutsi in the former Butare Prefecture.
After a sentence is finally passed ---which may not come soon given the paperwork involved with over 250 trial days---let these people together with other convicts be transferred to Rwanda to serve their sentence; this is under the presumption that the verdict turns out to be guilty, no pre-emption of a judicial process.
Having all these people who committed atrocities, especially the masterminds in the UN facility brought to Rwanda should form part of the healing process, as a relief to the survivors some of them who were raped by the likes of Ntahobari, albeit at the ‘orders’ of his mother.
It is not until they see justice being delivered before their own eyes which is the only way they will summon the much-needed energy to move on and further consolidate the healing process they began 15 years ago.