Arusha, 19 February 2009 (FH) - A former prefect and former legislator of the current governing party in Rwanda, Elisee Bisengimana, was arrested Wednesday on order of semi-traditional gacaca (pronounced gatchatcha) court which is trying him in his native district of Rusizi, West Province, for his alleged role in the 1994 genocide, reported Thursday government owned Radio Rwanda.

1 min 9Approximate reading time

Since the beginning of his trial in revision Monday, he was not in custody.

"The gacaca court ordered yesterday (Wednesday) that he be placed in detention; he was arrested at once; it is from now from the detention centre that he will come to his trial which continues today" (Thursday), added the radio.

Bisengimana had been tried and acquitted in 2007, when he was a deputy.

But following the allegations according to which he would have bribed the members of the jury and suborned the witnesses, he is currently tried in revision by a gacaca jury from the district of Huye, in the South Province.

A member of the governing party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which he integrated after the 1994 genocide, Bisengimana is mainly  accused of having had several people killed in Rusizi and having drawn up a list of Tutsis to be killed at the school complex of Gihundwe (in the same district of Rusizi) where he taught.

Before being elected as a deputy, he had governed, after the genocide, the former prefecture of Cyangugu (south-western Rwanda).

The former deputy was not on the list of RPF candidates in the legislative elections of last September.

Inspired by Rwandan tradition, the gacaca courts, whose judges are appointed from the community, are charged with trying alleged authors of the 1994 genocide which resulted, according to the UN, in nearly 800 000 deaths, primarily Tutsis.

They can deliver sentences of up to life imprisonment, the maximum sentence in Rwanda.


© Hirondelle News Agency