Kigali, 6 February 2009 (FH) - The human rights activist and Rwandan dramatic author, François-Xavier Byuma, will appear Saturday for the second time before a semi-traditional Gacaca Court, East Province, to re-try him in revision in his Biryogo district of Kigali.

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Byuma, currently held at the central prison of Kigali (PCK), was sentenced to 19 years in prison after being found guilty of criminal conspiracy, complicity to the assassination of Raymond Kabayiza and attempted murder of a woman named Batamuliza during the 1994 genocide.

At the first hearing of the revision trial on 24 January, he presented to the judges a document proving, according to him, that the author of the attempted murder of Batamuliza was another alleged genocidaire.

But on close examination of the document, the judges noted that Mutamuliza was the subject and not Batamuliza.

On Saturday, the judges will hear Byuma's defence in regard to the assassination of Rubayiza.

A long time activist and well-known dramatic author in his country, Byuma was convicted in first instance in May 2007 by the gacaca (pronounced gatchatcha) court of the Biryogo sector.

The sentence was confirmed in appeal three months later, after which the convict filed recourse for revision.

The course of the trial had been criticized by certain Rwandan, regional and international human rights associations, including Human Rights Watch (HRW).

A member of several Rwandan human rights organizations, Byuma is president of the "Turengere Abana" ( Let us protect the children) association which, in a report, had accused Judge Sudi Imanzi, president of the gacaca court of Biryogo, of having raped a young girl.

The Gacaca courts are presided not by professional judges by people of high integrity in the society.


© Hirondelle News Agency