In the appeal trial of Ngenzi and Barahira ongoing in assize court of Paris, appeared scarce facts. This was stated by the journalist of Paxpress Mr. Emmanuel Ruvugiro Sehene, who is following this trial day to day inside the court, when he was in a conference with judicial reporters of Paxpress on June 15th 2018.
The appeal trial of two former mayors of Kabarondo district in former Kibungo of east, started on May 2nd, 2018 and was now on its hearing day 25, where about 70 witnesses were heard among 100 on list. Among others some facts seemed unusual.
One: inside the court, judicial reporting press is guaranteed on office, but surprisingly nobody is occupying that office while this trial is ongoing, and except for one journalist of Paxpress, there is no other Medias attending the trial.
As it was explained by Mr. Albert Baudouin Twizeyimana, the national coordinator of Paxpress who was there for a short time, the reason why French media does not attend the trial is that they think of it to be more political according to the previous terms of relationships between Rwanda and France.
Two: one of the defendants, Ngenzi, it occurred that he changed names more than once before the trial; the fact that was discussed many times even in previous trial. He was called Octavien Ngenzi, the true name used in court, because it is the one he had while committing the crimes of genocide against tutsi in 1994, which he is accused of. He also used to be called Omar Ngenzi and Jean Marie Vianney Ntaganira.
Responding to that, Ngenzi did not deny it, he said that he had to do so, for his security reasons, because the new government of Rwanda were trying to track all former leaders as genocide perpetrators, they were wanted, he did so in order to stay calm in hiding.
Three: witnesses from Rwanda are supported by the Rwandan government through national public prosecution authority; they even buy clothes and shoes for them to look smart while appearing in court, different situation from what they had during the previous trial in 2016.
Four: contradictory testimonies, some witnesses came to clear the defendants and end up saying things that accuse them. The same happens to opposite side coming to accuse the defendants and end up saying things that clear them.
Five: the involvement of France as government in genocide against Tutsis was brought on table by a witness, who was in Rwanda during the genocide for peace building mission. Guillaume Ancel was a captain in French army that operated in ‘zone turquoise’ during genocide period who is now a retired colonel. Colonel Guillaume testified to have assisted on delivery of French fire arms to genocide perpetrators of Rwanda; he even published books about external military operations in Rwandan genocide against Tutsis.
Guillaume confirmed that the leader on district lever like Ngenzi and Barahira were influencers, if they have said the genocide to be stopped it could undoubtedly have happened.
Six : a qualified ‘professional witness’ Emmanuel Habimana nicknamed Cyasa (cleaver), condemned to life imprisonment for genocide crimes, confirmed that “the genocide against tutsi was prepared beforehand”, differently from some people saying that it was provoked by the plane crash and death of president Habyarimana.
He gave an example of a meeting they had on April 1st, 1994; at Cyasemakamba, which grouped all people in responsibility positions in former Kibungo province, that was called in pretext of “the development of Kibungo’s people” but talked about how to avenge the death of their compatriots. In this meeting they excluded all Tutsis and predicted the death of a ‘Hutu compatriot’ who was to be killed soon, and then they have been asked to avenge him by killing all Tutsis in his neighborhood.
Seven: the translation of testimonies from Kinyarwanda to French is hard and most of the time not perfectly matching, there are some words in Kinyarwanda to express deep feelings but you cannot find their French. Clear example is when a witness was asked if genocide perpetrators looked very angry and responded in Kinyarwanda “umva nawe di” to mean that it is clearly obvious.
This last fact is among the reasons why Paxpress in partnership with RCN justice et Democratie, arranged to have a group of journalists to report about this trial, most in Kinyarwanda language for many Rwandan to know exactly what is happening. But also in other different languages, so that the world can share with Rwandans the actuality.
The trial hearing is scheduled to end on July 6th, 2018, even if they had some disturbance; Mr. Twizeyimana believes that the deadline will be kept because none has interest in extending the hearing.
Francine Andrew Mukase