What to know about Col Aloys Simba, Genocide convict who died without repenting

On 11 July 2023 at 01:58

When one speaks of Col Simba Aloys, the name evokes the memories of the cruelty with which the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was perpetrated in the former Gikongoro and Butare Prefecture. This man, who was a close friend of former President Juvénal Habyarimana, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the Genocide.

He is particularly notorious for his involvement in the massacre of over 35,000 Tutsis at Murambi Technical School in Murambi, Cyanika Commune, and Kaduha parish.

As a high-ranking official in the ex-Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) and a member of the Comrades of the ’Fifth of July,’ Col Aloys Simba took part in a coup that brought former President Juvenal Habyarimana to power in 1973. He was not only a close friend of Habyarimana but also a member of ’Akazu’ – an inner circle comprising Habyarimana’s allies.

Col Simba, a convicted perpetrator of the Genocide against the Tutsi, passed away in Benin on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, just a day before the ’Fifth of July,’ which would have marked 50 years since Maj Gen Habyarimana ousted Kayibanda from power.

Col Simba remained one of Habyarimana’s few senior officers who stayed loyal, while others like Col Kanyarengwe and Col Lizinde were gradually being ousted from the Akazu circle. The Akazu members had started realizing that Habyarimana would not share power with them as agreed.

Retired Corporal Senkeri Salathiel, a former member of Habyarimana’s presidential guard has told IGIHE that Col Simba was among the few comrades of the ’Fifth of July’ who helped Habyarimana seize power while still on duty, and he was highly respected for it.

Senkeri disclosed that Col Simba held a prominent status within the military and Rwandan society.

He used this authority to issue orders during the Genocide against the Tutsi in Gikongoro and Butare.

From 1989 to 1993, Col Simba served as a parliamentarian. He worked as a security adviser in Gikongoro Prefecture and Butare as the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi unfolded.

Col Simba played a role in the killings of over 50,000 Tutsi children, women, and men who had sought refuge in Murambi. He was also involved in the massacres at Kaduha parish, where he distributed traditional arms, guns, and grenades to the Genocide perpetrators.

In 2005, Col Simba was convicted for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He had been arrested in Senegal in 2001 and subsequently transferred to Arusha, Tanzania.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sentenced him to 25 years in prison after finding him guilty of leading various attacks orchestrated by Interahamwe to exterminate Tutsis in the former Butare and Gikongoro prefectures, as well as committing crimes against humanity.

In 2019, Judge Theodor Meron, the former President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, granted Simba early release, sparking controversy. Rwanda contested the decision, arguing that they had not been informed beforehand, as Simba had not completed his full prison term.

After his release, Simba settled in Benin, where he resided until his passing without apologizing.

He was 85 years old at the time of his death. Simba was born on December 28, 1938, in Musebeya Municipality, Gikongoro Prefecture.

Col Simba was 85 years old at the time of his death.