Kigali, August 8, 2011 (FH) - A court in southern Rwanda will hand down judgment Thursday in the genocide trial of Runyinya Barabwiriza, who was diplomatic advisor to the former Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana.

1 min 7Approximate reading time

Originally scheduled for July 28, the judgment is now expected on August 11 (this Thursday), a source at the Huye court registry told Hirondelle News Agency by telephone.

Runyinya Barabwiriza has been in detention for 16 years, accused of planning the 1994 genocide. His trial began in April. On June 28, the prosecutor requested a life sentence against him.

Runyinya Barabwiriza, a botanist by training, taught at the National University of Rwanda as well as advising Habyarimana. From June 1993 he also headed the president's MRND party in the southern Butare prefecture.

Barabwiriza is accused of planning and inciting genocide, and of distributing weapons.

In a recent report, Rwanda's human rights commission called in vain for his immediate release.

As a member of Habyarimana's diplomatic delegation, Barabwiriza was stuck in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from April 6 to July 5, 1994. Habyarimana was killed on April 6 when his plane was shot down over Kigali  returning from Tanzania.

Barabwiriza has presented as an alibi his absence from Rwanda during most of the genocide. The prosecutor argued, however, that Barabwiriza planned genocide before April 6, 1994, and that massacres perpetrated after that date were the result of his planning.   

When he returned to Rwanda on July 5, 1994, Barabwiriza first went to Cyangugu in the southwest and then to Kigali where he was arrested two months later.

Originally from the southern prefecture of Gikongoro, Barabwiriza obtained his further education at  the National University of Rwanda, the Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium, and the University of Gembloux which is also in the former colonial power Belgium.   


© Hirondelle News Agency