Survivors of Genocide against Tutsis of Rwanda in 1994, from Kabarondo Sector in Kayonza District were reassured about reparations in court of Paris.
From the trial of two Bourgmestre of former Kabarondo District, Tito Barahira and OctavienNgenzi, which were sentenced to life imprisonment, after being convicted of crime of genocide and crime against humanity, in appeal trial by the Paris assize court on July 6, 2018; survivors were told that only people living in Europe will benefit from reparations decided by this court.
According to the law governing over courts in France, reparations from criminal trials are only given to plaintiffs residing on European territory, said Alain Gauthier, from the collective of civil parties CPCR. In this trial as it was even in the previous one, CPCR together with some survivors on their own account reclaimed reparations, but some worried about this law.
Christine Muteteri is a widow who survived genocide against Tutsis, she was around 30s when she lost her family in atrocity killings by genocide perpetrators. She was among witnesses in this trial and among those who worried that they will not get reparations from the trial because they don’t live in Europe. She said “we even got lawyers to help us reclaim about reparations, but they told us that only people living in Europe will get them.”
Jovith Ryaka is an old man of around 60s, he lost a wife and was left with three kids to raise alone, he said that what was important was not necessarily reparations, but that the justice do their work and give an appropriate judgment to the accused. Ryaka was one of witnesses in both trials, he heard about reparations to be given to only people living in Europe and he has been confused about it.
The Rwandan journalist who assisted to the appeal trial from Paris court, Emmanuel Ruvugiro Sehene said that there is still a chance to reclaim reparations and get them. Sehene said that even if the court of Paris is the one to decide about reparations, but the decision of its judgment will be implemented by Rwandan courts.
To the side of the law, Mr. Juvens Ntampuhwe, a professional lawyer working for RCN Justice et Democratie assured the survivors about these reparations from Paris court. He said that in every criminal trial if anyone reclaims them in the same trial, they will get them after the accused are convicted.
But also after the pronunciation of the judgment, those who were not in the trial from before, if they start another trial using the first one as evidence, they will have the right to reclaim and get reparations.
The fact that they might be at the European continent or elsewhere, Mr. Ntampuhwe assured survivors from Kabarondo Sector, that they have an option to start a new reparations trial in Rwandan civil courts, and use the decision of the criminal court as evidence.
Author: Francine Andrew Mukase