Rusizi , 6 October 2008 (FH) - "Here [Rusizi], it is often talked about corruption, injustice in the judgments" (rendered by the gacaca courts), observed François Kajiwabo, who represents in the district of Rusizi ,south-western Rwanda, IBUKA organization, main associations of genocide survivors.

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"If there is neither truth, nor justice, one cannot hope for reconciliation between Rwandans'' he added.

In this district of the West Province, almost every month are denounced cases of corruption of people with integrity sitting in these semi-traditional courts charged with trying the majority of the alleged authors of the 1994 genocide. "Nevertheless it is very difficult to have tangible evidence", deplores Kajiwabo.

But, in certain cases, the corrupters and the corrupted are uncovered.

Thus, last month, Louis David Rwigemera, president of the gacaca appeal court of Gihundwe B was sentenced by another court of the same sector to five years in prison for corruption. However, indicated within his community as a person with integrity, Rwigemera tried to bribe judges to obtain the acquittal of his brother-in-law, Ferdinand Mwitende. The latter was finally sentenced to 19 years in prison. Rwigemera, with "false integrity", will also have, in addition to the five years in detention, to pay a fine of 300 000 Rwandan francs (about 500 American dollars).

The Rwigemera case is seen by certain gacaca judges as a shame. "To be inyangamugayo (have integrity, in Rwandan language) moves you away from many of the lowest", stated the elderly Delmas Munyeragwe, president of another gacaca court in Rusizi. For him, such lack of scruples adds to the suffering of the victims.

Munyeragwe is not satisfied simply with words. Last month, he denounced Jean Ngendahimana, a taxi driver who wanted to give a cheque of 150 000 Rwandan francs to him, to block the courts of justice in a trial for crimes of genocide. According to the local police, the case is under investigation with the prosecution of Rusizi.

Certain corrupters were even caught red-handed by the police force since the opening of the trials before the gacacas in 2006.

On 14 April 2004, a rich businessman from Rusizi, Emmanuel Muzungu, saw police officers emerge into a bar where he had invited some of his judges to give them a million Rwandan francs.

The latter, wanting that the businessman finish in the hands of justice, had answered to his call after having beforehand warned the police. A strategy which from now on many gacaca judges utilize, even if it is proven that certain prefer to take the money.


© Hirondelle News Agency