Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another victory against impunity in Rwanda

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Among those who thought they could escape justice, Gen. Augustin Bizimungu is not lucky. For the longest time, he had evaded capture to the point of enlisting as a solider for hire with the Angolan UNITA rebel group.  He was captured in 2002, following the death of Jonas Savimbi.
Bizimungu is accused, among other charges of preparing lists of Tutsi to be massacred. Furthermore, despite his powerful position in the Rwandan military, “[he] turned his back on Tutsis who appealed to him directly at the height of the slaughter and who were killed minutes later”. In Mukingo, he made a speech that incited violence against Tutsi.
Some argue that the fellow was not good in military combat but was quickly promoted due to powerful connections with the Kabuga family. That alone would classify him as an incompetent leader.
It is without question that Bizimungu and other high ranking members of the then Rwandan army, opted for “civilian self-defense” wary of the approaching rebels. This would further contribute to the breakdown of civil order and lay the context for the Rwanda genocide.
One other high ranking soldier, Augustin Ndindiliyimana was acquitted. Ndindiliyimana is the former chief of the Rwandan police force under Habyarimana’s regime.  Two others, Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Captain Innocent Sagahutu were handed 20 years in jail.

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