Rwanda: Genocidaire Claude Muhayimana's Trial in France Pushed to February

30 September 2020

The trial of Claude Muhayimana, a Genocide suspect living in France, earlier scheduled to run from September 29 to October 23, has been pushed to February next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, sources have told The New Times.

Muhayimana has been a naturalized French citizen since 2010.

For years, France-based Collectif des parties civiles pour le Rwanda (CPCR) which works to see Genocide suspects living in France brought to book, has been pushing for his trial, so that he is held accountable should be tried for "complicity in genocide."

The rights group accuses him of having regularly transported Interahamwe militia to the hills of Karongi and Bisesero where they murdered people en-mass.

On Tuesday, September 29, Dafrose Mukarumongi, a member of the CPCR told The New Times that the trial was postponed and is now set for February 2 to 26, next year.

"This Claude (Muhayimana) is an interahamwe of Kibuye. He now resides in Rouen. We are now preparing for his trial in February," she said.

The trial will be held "in Paris at the Cours d'Assises" where Genocide cases are heard, she explained.

Muhayimana, who worked as a driver at a hotel in western Rwanda, is accused of transporting Interahamwe militia to various locations where massacres were carried out.

When he is eventually brought before court for trial, he will be the third person to be tried for the Genocide against the Tutsi in France.

The other two trials that have taken place in France include that of Pascal Simbikangwa, a former officer in the presidential guard who was given a 25-year sentence in 2014.

He appealed and lost. In 2016, Octavien Ngenzi and Tito Barahira, two former mayors in eastern Rwanda, were given life sentences.

Last October, a French court upheld the life sentence imposed on the two, three years earlier after being found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.

According to the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Muhayimana was one of the leading Interahamwe leaders in Kibuye town who played a big role, as a driver, while transporting killers to places where they massacred people during the Genocide.

Besides transporting the killers, the accused also killed people in the area.

He is accused of participating in the massacre of the Tutsi in the Saint-Jean compound in the city of Kibuye and in Gatwaro stadium.

He also collaborated closely with the then prefect of the area, Clément Kayishema. The atrocities at this stadium were ordered by Clément Kayishema, the former prefect of what was then known as Kibuye Prefecture.

Kayishema was tried and convicted by a UN court, and died in 2016 in a prison in Mali, where he was serving a life sentence.

Muhayimana faces charges of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity through aiding and assisting such crimes.

In 2014, he was arrested in the northern city of Rouen after a year-long investigation triggered by a complaint by the CPCR.

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