20.01.09 - RWANDA/GACACA - REVISION TRIAL OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST SET FOR SATURDAY

Arusha, 20 January 2009 (FH) - The trial in revision of François Xavier Byuma, a Rwandan human rights activist sentenced to 19 years in prison for genocide, will take place Saturday in Kigali before gacaca court (semi traditional courts), it was learned Tuesday from local association sources.
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"Byuma will appear in revision case on Saturday  24th (January)", agent of the League for Human Rights in the Great Lakes Region (LDGL) based in Kigali  indicated to Hirondelle News Agency .
 
A member of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and the Defence of Human Rights (LIPRODHOR), an organization affiliated LDGL, for its part specified that Byuma will be tried by a gacaca court in Rwamagana district, (East Province) which will move to Kigali for the revision.
 
A long time activist and well-known dramatic author in his country, Byuma was sentenced in first instance in May 2007 by the gacaca court of the Biryogo sector, in Kigali.
 
The sentence was confirmed in appeal three months later, after which the convict filed for a review.

The activist was found guilty, inter alia, of "association with wrongdoers" and of violence towards a Tutsi woman during the 1994 genocide.
 
The course of the trial had been criticized by certain Rwandan, regional and international human rights organizations, including LIPRODHOR, LDGL and Human Rights Watch (HRW).
 
A member of several Rwandan human rights organizations, Byuma is a President of the "Turengere Abana" (Let us Protect the Children) association whose report, accused Judge Sudi Imanzi, president of the gacaca court of Biryogo, to have raped a young girl.

The "gacacas" , popular courts inspired by former village assemblies during which wise men settled disagreements while sitting on the grass (gacaca in language Kinyarwanda), can try all alleged authors of the 1994 genocide, except "the planners of the genocide at the national and provincial levels."
The 1994 genocide, committed by Hutu extremists, resulted, according to the Rwandan government, in nearly a million people killed, primarily Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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