In the ongoing trial at the Cour d'Assises de Paris, witnesses have testified to the prime role played by genocide suspect Philippe Hategekimana, also known as 'Biguma,' in the death of the former Bourgmestre of Ntyazo Commune, Narcisse Nyagasaza.
Hategekimana, formerly a deputy commander of Gendarmerie (police) in the current Nyanza District, is currently on trial in France. The trial commenced on May 10 and is expected to conclude on June 30.
During the trial, Israel Dusingizimana, former councilor of the Mushirarungu sector in the commune of Nyabisindu, told court how Nyagasaza was killed saying that he recalls seeking Hategekimana arriving in a white double-cabin vehicle in company of gendarmes, and took Nyagasaza and five other Tutsis.
He remembers that under the orders of Hategekimana, the gendarmes searched the five Tutsis, confiscated their money, and then shot them dead by the roadside. Afterward, they continued their journey and arrived in front of the under-construction Mushirarungu sector office.
"We got out of the vehicle and ascended the road, where Hategekimana commanded a search of the bourgumestre. The gendarmes seized Rwf 1,000 from his pocket. Then, he lay down on the ground, supporting himself on his left arm. Two gendarmes, once again following Hategekimana's orders, shot him twice," he recalls.
Following the incident, Hategekimana addressed the Hutu individuals present, stating, "Here is an example of what you must do to the Tutsi who are on the hill of Nyabubare."
Another witness, Eliyazari Nsengiyobiri, confirmed that it was on Saturday, April 23, 1994, when Hategekimana addressed the people gathered around the vehicle which was carrying Nyagasaza. He stated that they had apprehended Nyagasaza, accusing him of transporting the Tutsi across the border. Hategekimana pointed at Nyagasaza as he made this declaration.
Hategekimana proceeded to interrogate Nyagasaza, specifically questioning him about the whereabouts of the Inkotanyi. Nyagasaza responded that he had no information. In response, Hategekimana said, "Do you see the arrogance of this man?" He then instructed Nyagasaza to empty his pockets, and Nyagasaza got out a Rwf1000 note.
Hategekimana then ordered Nyagasaza to lie down on the ground. Under his orders, one of the accompanying gendarmes shot Nyagasaza. Hategekimana then proceeded to command the people to bury the body of the bourgmestre.
Hategekimana, 66, faces charges of orchestrating the murder of Tutsis and establishing roadblocks to intercept and execute Tutsis in the hills of Nyamure and Nyabubare, as well as the former Ntyazo, Nyabisindu, and Rusatira communes--all located in southern Rwanda.