Soon a new trial, after the genocide that targeted the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994? A Rwandan ex-gendarme, naturalized French in 2005, was sent back to the assizes in Paris for “genocide” and “crimes against humanity”.
On Monday, two investigating judges from the “crimes against humanity” pole of the Paris judicial court ordered a trial against Philippe Hategekimana, naturalized under the name of Philippe Manier, AFP learned from the public prosecutor’s office on Thursday. national anti-terrorism.
Detained for two and a half years, this 65-year-old man will thus have to answer for “genocide, crimes against humanity and participation in a group for the preparation” of these crimes.
Three people already convicted in France
This former chief adjutant at the gendarmerie of Nyanza, in the prefecture of Butare (south), is thus the 8th accused returned to the assizes in France for crimes committed during this genocide, which left more than 800,000 dead according to the UN, mainly Tutsi exterminated between April and July 1994.
To date, only three of them have been definitively convicted and the last trial dates back to 2018. Two other defendants are due to be tried soon: Claude Muhayimana, a former Franco-Rwandan hotel driver accused of having transported militiamen, must appear from November 22 to December 17 while a former prefect, Laurent Bucyibaruta, will be tried from May 2022. Two other men, doctors, await the outcome of the appeals they have filed.
“We will carefully analyze the order of indictment and file all the necessary appeals,” said Me Emmanuel Altit, who defends the former gendarme alongside Me Alexis Guedj and Me Fabio Lhote.
Suspected of the murder of dozens of Tutsi
In this case, Philippe Hategekimana, who disputes the facts, is suspected of the murder of dozens of Tutsi, including that of a bourgmestre who resisted the execution of the genocide in his commune, and of having “ordered the erection of barriers “In the springs of several Rwandan communes,” by encouraging the civilians present to kill the Tutsi “, according to the order of the judges, of which AFP was aware.
“According to the testimonies, he gave orders to the gendarmes who were being executed and took part in the operations and attacks himself,” the magistrates wrote.
This man, nicknamed “Biguma”, would have thus, according to the testimony, had a “role as direct author in the massacre of the hills of Nyabubare and Nyamure”, where nearly 15,000 victims were counted.
Arrived in France in 1999
Having left Rwanda after the genocide, he arrived in France in 1999, where he obtained refugee status under a false identity.
Residing in the Rennes region, he converted to a security guard and was naturalized French in 2005.
But he had left France for Cameroon a few months before his arrest, causing investigators to fear an “organized leak” when the press had reported a complaint filed against him by the Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR) .
Arrested at the end of March 2018 in Yaoundé and extradited a year later to France, he was indicted on February 15, 2019 and placed in pre-trial detention.
“This is a case that is progressing very quickly, to our great satisfaction”, welcomed Alain Gauthier, co-founder of the SCRC, whose complaint had led to the opening of a judicial investigation. “Insofar as he is in detention, it seems normal that this file is closed rather quickly”.
For a long time, the legal fate of suspected refugees in France was one of the points of tension in the complicated relationship between Paris and Kigali, poisoned by the question of France’s role in the genocide.
The tone is now calming since the report of the commission of historians chaired by Vincent Duclert, which concluded last March in “heavy and overwhelming responsibilities” of Paris during the massacres.
As part of efforts to normalize Franco-Rwandan relations, Emmanuel Macron pledged “that no person suspected of crimes of genocide can escape justice”.
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