Bucyibaruta trial: the presence of authorities at the sites of the killings encourages the massacres

Bucyibaruta trial: the presence of authorities at the sites of the killings encourages the massacres
Burnt roof of the Kibeho church

A witness in the trial of Laurent Bucyibaruta, former Gikongoro ‘prefet’ prosecuted on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, affirms that the presence of the authorities at the sites of the killing during the genocide against Tutsi encouraged the population to get wet in the massacres.

Innocent Bakundukize, who was agronomist  of Mata tea plant during genocide against Tutsi, before he was appointed ‘bourgmestre’ of Mubuga commune after the death of Charles Nyiridandi, during his testimony before the assize court of Paris, he affirms that the attackers at Kibeho parish felt encouraged by the presence of the local authorities.

Among others: the ‘bourgmestres’ Charles Nyiridandi and Jean Hategekimana who were present, the ‘bourgmestre’ of Rwamiko, Silas Mugerangabo and Damien Biniga the ‘sous-prefet’ of Munini.

“Certainly that the presence of all these authorities encouraged the population in these actions and beyond that, it gave the population a feeling of impunity,” added Bakundukize.

The church was no exception

A survivor of Marie-merci school – Kibeho, told the assize court that the massacres there happened while the church and the school administrations are watching.

At the bottom of the church walls, traces of the holes left by the grenade explosions of the attackers.

“The school director, Emmanuel, told us that we had mass for us, there were also Interahamwe who came, and they had left their machetes at the entrance to the church. What is surprising is that we were told that we would not be given the Eucharist because there were not enough hosts: the “cockroaches” had consumed them all (allusion to the Tutsi). We were told that those who were going to benefit from it were those who were at ‘work’ (the killers, the Hutu),” the witness said.

The witness recalls that the gendarmes arrived in a car from the prefecture, and on board there were other various authorities. Among them, there was Damien Biniga (sous-prefet), Laurent Bucyibaruta (Prefet of Gikongoro), the mayor of Mubuga and a local health assistant, as well as Bishop Misago.

 “It was a big group; the ones I just mentioned are the ones I remember. They said that as far as we were concerned the situation was settled, that we were going to be protected by the gendarmes. In reality, we knew what security it was about,” added the witness.

According to witnesses at Kibeho parish, there were three attacks, no one died in the first attack, the second and third attacks took place in the same way: first gunfire and then traditional weapons; Kibeho genocide memorial is home to 28,937 victims who were killed at Kibeho parish and neighboring sectors.