One forced a nail into a child’s ear: The cruelty of Butare doctors during Genocide against the Tutsi

On 29 January 2024 at 09:20

In a recent address to youth from secondary schools and universities in the Southern Province, the Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement, Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana, shed light on the disturbing actions of so-called intellectual figures, particularly doctors, during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Butare.

This revelation comes as a stark reminder of the extreme cruelty that unfolded in a area known for its significant concentration of scholars at that time. The minister’s talk took place on January 27, 2024.

Dr. Bizimana highlighted the role of the former Butare Prefecture, a focal point of political activities, where hate activities were initiated by Gitera from Save.

Gitera, responsible for drafting the ten commandments of Hutus, set in motion a history of hatred that persisted among the residents, shaping the ideologies of both children and neighbors.

The narrative of hatred, according to Dr. Bizimana, extended even to the medical community, typically associated with preserving health. In Butare during the Genocide, some doctors deviated from their oath, committing acts that contradicted their profession.

During the address, Dr. Bizimana shared shocking statistics, revealing that Huye town (formerly Butare) boasted the largest number of doctors in 1994, with approximately 40 of them working at the University Teaching Hospital of Butare-CHUB and Kabutere hospitals.

Astonishingly, three-quarters of these doctors, totaling 26, were convicted of genocide. The minister emphasized the significant involvement of medical lecturers and doctors in the atrocities.

Notably, 31 nurses from Butare faced convictions for crimes despite their sworn duty to treat and protect life. Dr. Bizimana cited a disheartening example of a doctor couple, both working at CHUB, who participated in the genocide and were sentenced.

One chilling example presented by Dr. Bizimana was that of Ndindabahizi Jean Chrysostome, a doctor at CHUB, and his wife, Nduwamariya Jeanne, an otolaryngologist, who both committed genocide.

The minister recounted a horrific incident involving Dr. Nduwamariya, who, as the sole expert in treating ears, throats, and noses, inserted a nail into a child’s ear during the Genocide, illustrating the extreme cruelty exhibited by Butare doctors.

Dr. Bizimana urged the youth to learn from these real-life examples, emphasizing the importance of understanding the country’s history to become exemplary professionals. He called on students to reject any association with the dark past and strive to be positive contributors to society.

Regrettably, two doctors involved in these heinous acts have fled the country and have yet to face legal consequences for their actions. The minister’s revelations serve as a poignant reminder of the need to confront and learn from the atrocities committed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Dr. Bizimana highlighted the role of the former Butare Prefecture, a focal point of political activities, where hate activities were initiated by Gitera from Save.