Monday, September 27, 2021

Rwanda: Activists Protest Burial in France of Genocide Architect Bagosora

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (file photo).


The New Times (Kigali)

By Bertrand Byishimo

Le Collectif des parties civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR), a civil society body based in France has implored the French government not to welcome the remains of the top genocide architect Col Théoneste Bagosora who succumbed to a disease in a Malian prison on Saturday, September 25.

He was serving a 35-year sentence handed to him by the then International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Founded by Alain and Dafroza Gauthier, CPCR is a non-governmental organization that aims at bringing before justice all the suspects of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi mainly those living in France.

In a statement released on Sunday, the organisation said; "We urge the French authorities to refuse that the remains of Bagosora get buried in France where several members of his family reside," reads the statement in part.

'Place of pilgrimage'

The civil society also warned France to avoid becoming a haven of genocide fugitives.

"France, which is already a land of asylum for plenty of people suspected of having participated in the genocide against the Tutsi, should not become a 'place of pilgrimage' for those nostalgic for the genocidal regime of Juvénal Habyarimana," read the statement.

CPCR based their request on the fact that France has already received the remains of Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, the former president of CDR, an extremist political outfit. Barayagwiza was also a founding member and head of RTLM, the hate radio that was key in facilitating the Genocide against the Tutsi.

France has also received the remains of Simon Bikindi, who was one of the then regime propagandist musician and song-writer whose compositions were aired on RTLM and other extremist outlets.

Survivors react

Genocide survivors and family members of slain politicians whose death Bagosora bears a superior responsibility, were disappointed by the fact that the genocide mastermind did not show any remorse until his time of death.

According to Naphthali Ahishakiye, the Executive Secretary of the Umbrella organization of genocide survivors, IBUKA, the survivors are relieved that he died in the hands of justice.

"Laws stipulate that a crime is wiped by the death of the convict, but we are glad that he died in the hands of justice system, having been tried, convicted and sentenced," he said.

Nevertheless, he regretted that Bagosora didn't express remorse for the grave crimes he committed as he bears a superior responsibility in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Bagosora also bears responsibility for the systematic killing of prominent personalities and opposition political figures who include Landoald Ndasingwa, the designated minister of Local Government.

Commonly known as Lando and founder of the popular Hotel Chez Lando, Ndasingwa was killed with his entire family on April 7, 1994.

Anne-Marie Kantengwa, the sister to Lando, says that Bagosora's death should be a wake-up call to other genocide convicts to show remorse and be cooperative which he said will help in the documentation of the country's history.

"His death should push other convicts to show remorse, and be cooperative during investigations and documentation to make sure all information is availed to the public to heal the survivors," she said pointing out that convicts should show remorse and show where the remains of the genocide victims are buried.

Bagosora, 80, was arrested in Cameroun in March 1996 and transferred to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania where he was tried for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

At the beginning of the Genocide, he was the highest authority in the Ministry of Defence and exercised control over the army of the genocidal regime that worked with Interahamwe to slaughter Tutsi.

Read the original article on New Times.

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