Former Prefect of Gikongoro, Bucyibaruta handed 20-year jail term over role in Genocide

On 13 July 2022 at 07:37

The Paris Criminal Court has handed 20-year sentence to Laurent Bucyibaruta, the former prefect of Gikongoro Prefecture in the current Southern Province after he was found guilty of role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

The court has also ordered immediate arrest of Bucyibaruta, 78, who has been under trial for two months over complicity in Genocide and crimes against humanity in Gikongoro prefecture which he headed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

He was given ten days to have appealed against the verdict.

During trial proceedings, the Prosecution had requested the court to hand life sentence to Bucyibaruta.

At the heart of the case against the convict, were several "security" meetings, either ordered or attended by Bucyibaruta, which prosecutors had argued were actually planning sessions for the killings.

Specifically, Bucyibaruta was accused of having persuaded thousands of people to take refuge in the Murambi Technical School, by promising them food, water and protection.

Days later, in the early hours of April 21, tens of thousands of Tutsis were executed there.

The court also examined Bucyibaruta’s responsibility in the massacre of around 90 Tutsi pupils at the Marie Merci school in Kibeho on 7th May 1994 and in the execution of Tutsi prisoners including three priests in Gikongoro prison.

It is said that Bucyibaruta, who has been in France since 1997, has several health problems and was allowed to remain under house arrest during trial to receive treatments.

Richard Gisagara, a lawyer who followed up the case has welcomed the ruling.

“Let us reflect on victims in Kibeho, Murambi, Cyanika and Kaduha among others. I am grateful to those who entrusted me with heavy responsibilities to represent them,” he said.

Bucyibaruta was born in Musange in1944. He served as the prefect of Gikongoro Prefecture from 4th July 1992 to July 1994.

Initially, he fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and later went to France in 1997 where he lives up to date.

The sentence handed to Bucyibaruta is considered as a great step made by France which was for long blamed over sheltering masterminds of Genocide against the Tutsi roaming freely.

Following the visit of French President, Emmanuel Macron to Rwanda last year, the country pledged to work with Rwanda to bring to justice individuals suspected of role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Umbrella organizations of survivors of Genocide against the Tutsi and human rights activists had requested for trial of Bucyibaruta in 2000.

Bucyibaruta has been handed 20-year jail term over his role in Genocide against the Tutsi.