Kigali, 2 June 2008 (FH) - The gacaca court of the Nyamirambo sector, in Kigali, sentenced Sunday to life in prison a former leader of the Interahamwe militia, Froduald Bampaweniminsi, known as Bampawe, reports the Hirondelle Agency.

1 min 17Approximate reading time

Bampawe, 54 years old, was found guilty and convicted for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity. He was accused of illegal detention and distribution of firearms, membership, in 1994, to a committee charged with organizing the genocide in his district.

He was also prosecuted for having taken part in attacks that resulted in several dozen deaths in families suspected of beings accomplices of the RPF.

During the proceedings, which lasted more than 9 hours, the defendant pleaded not guilty to all these counts of the indictment in spite of the overpowering testimony of a dozen prosecution witnesses, reports the Hirondelle Agency.

"Papa! Gacaca, it is for unity and reconciliation. Someone must not say, of me, here is the boy whose father killed my family. Gacaca, it is for the truth! ", begged one of his 3 sons, present at the hearing.

"Taking into account his plea of not guilty, his responsibility and his zeal in the genocide, Mr. Bampawe is sentenced to life in prison", indicates the judgment.

According to the same verdict, Bampawe received "civic degradation for life and will not be able to benefit from Work of General Interest (WGI).

At the conclusion of the verdict pronouncement, Bampawe specified to the Hirondelle Agency that he had been arrested and detained, in December 1994, and then released 7 years later. Since then, he has lived alone in Rambura (northern Rwanda) where he worked in a Banque Populaire.

"It is thanks to a member of his family that we knew where he lived and we issued an arrest warrant", indicated a gacaca judge from the Nyamirambo court.

Inspired by the former village assemblies during which wise men settled disagreements while sitting on the grass (gacaca, in Rwandan), these semi-traditional courts have the role of emptying the heavy caseload of the 1994 genocide.


Hirondelle News Agency