Rwanda: CNLG Welcomes French Decision to Try 'Butcher of Tumba'

11 December 2018

The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has commended the French judiciary for its recent decision to refer Dr Sosthène Munyemana, alias Butcher of Tumba, to the courts of law so that justice can be served.

Dr. Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of CNLG, said in a statement that in 1994, the suspected murderer was one of those who coordinated and implemented the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi in Tumba Sector (Huye) in particular and in the former Butare prefecture in general.

"CNLG lauds all those who continue to contribute towards bringing to justice any suspect of the crime of genocide, which will contribute to restoring dignity to all the victims of the Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi," the statement reads in part.

Who is Munyemana?

The CNLG has a fact file on the suspect, which indicates that he was born in 1955 in Mbare, former Commune of Musambira, in former Gitarama prefecture.

After completing medicine studies at the National University of Rwanda, in Butare, Munyemana went on to specialise in gynaecology at the University of Bordeaux II in France.

On his return, he worked at the University Hospital of Butare and also lectured at the Faculty of Medicine at the National University of Rwanda.

During the Genocide, Munyemana was residing in Gitwe cell of Tumba Sector.

His wife, Muhongayire Febronie, with whom he had three children, was then in France.

Munyemana was on leave from end March to early May 1994, when participated actively in the Genocide after which he to France where he still resides.

The Genocide charges against him were filed in 1995 by rights groups, the Collectif Girondin pour le Rwanda and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and were examined by the French Justice in 2001.

An international arrest warrant was issued by Rwanda and put under a red notice by Interpol in 2006.

The suspect applied for refugee status, which was denied in 2008. In 2010, Rwanda requested France to extradite him without success.

He was indicted for the crime of Genocide in January 2011. His passport was confiscated and he was therefore required to report regularly to the gendarmerie.

Mobilised population to kill the Tutsi in Butare

On April 17, 1994, Councilor Francois Bwanakeye held a meeting with the people of Tumba to take measures for their safety.

"It was decided to install road blocks and organize patrols to protect the population. At that time in the neighbouring area of Mubumbano Tutsi houses were already being burned. Munyemana in his inflammatory speech incited the population to kill the Tutsi," says the CNLG.

"He had beside him, Joseph Hitimana a.k.a Ruganzu from Gitarama, who was the head of the agriculture department in Ngoma commune and president of MDR Power, Simeon Remera, who was a medical assistant at Kabutare Hospital and president of the CDR in Butare, Mrs. Simeon Remera, who was a nurse at Rango Health Centre, Thierry, the CDR president in Tumba and Francois Bwanakeye, councilor and trader."

It is reported that during the Genocide, Munyemana was seen wearing banana leaves, first armed with a spear, then a rifle.

The first Tutsi who were killed were among others the intellectuals, traders and then others followed.

Those killed by Munyemana are many and reportedly "suffered the worst torture."

It is noted that Munyemana killed Tutsi in other places such as Ngoma, Kabakobwa in Nkubi Sector and Musambira.

Munyemana was a great friend of Jean Kambanda, the interim Prime Minister and when he came to Butare, he used to stay with Munyemana. It was Munyemana who executed Kambanda's orders to kill the Tutsi.

According to CNLG, Munyemana did everything to make sure the French soldiers of Operation Turquoise are accorded a warm welcome by the people of Tumba.

He organised the distribution of the French flags to the killers who, dressed in banana leaves and armed with traditional weapons, walked behind the vehicles of the French soldiers while in the front, motorcycles opened the march with honking.

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