Arusha, 14 January 2009 (FH) - A former officer of the rebel Democratic Forces for Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), has been sentenced to life in prison in isolation by the semi-traditional Gacaca court after being found guilty of having played a part in the 1994 genocide, reports Hirondelle Agency.

0 min 55Approximate reading time

The gacaca court of the Nyagatare sector, East Province, ruled that Brigadier General Seraphin Bizimungu, alias Amani Mahoro, had been implicated in February 1994 massacres of ethnic Tutsis in the east of the country, where he had been deployed.

At that time, Bizimungu was a young officer in Rwandan army, then fighting with the rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), currently in power.

"He [Bizimungu] has appealed over the ruling which will be heard on Thursday", according  to Rwandan League for the Promotion and the Defence of Human Right (LIPRODHOR).

A native of former prefecture of Gisenyi, northern Rwanda, Bizimungu (no relation with the former Rwandan President Pastor Bizimungu), belonged to the military command of FDLR based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Entered in dissidence, he had returned to Rwanda in December 2005 with several dozen combatants.

 He was integrated into the new Rwandan army, and worked at the interior intelligence services.

The Gacaca courts (pronounced gatchatcha) are charged with trying people suspected of having taking part in the genocide in 1994. The courts are presided by high esteem persons from the society and not professional judges.


© Hirondelle News Agency