Eliezer Niyitegeka was born on 12 March 1951 in Gitabura, in Gisovu commune, Kibuye prefecture, Rwanda. After studying journalism in Romania, Niyitegeka became first a journalist and presenter with Radio Rwanda and and subsequently a Member of Parliament, then executive in a textile company and businessman. In 1991, with the coming of multi party democracy to Rwanda, he was one of the founding members of the opposition party, the Democratic Republican Movement (MDR). From 1991 till 1994, he was President of the MDR in Kibuye prefecture. Niyitegeka also held a seat in the national political headquarters of his party.
On 9 April 1994, he was appointed Minister of Information in the Interim Government. He held this position until the time he fled Rwanda in mid-July 1994.In this capacity, he was responsible for government policies adopted in the information sector. He exercised authority and control over all the institutions and staff members under his ministry. He also participated in the drafting of the legislation passed by the Interim Government.
On 10 April 1994 in Gosovu, Niyitegega and three soldiers went ahead with an operation involving the transport of weapons. On or about 16 April 1994, Niyitegeka enlisted the gendarmerie in order to carry out an attack against the Tutsis who had sought refuge in the Mubuga church.
On 13 April 1994, Niyitegeka was in Rugarama in the Bisesero region accompanied by armed attackers to whom he gave the order to massacre the Tutsis, following which an attack was effectively carried out.
On one day between 17 and 30 April 1994, at 9.30 in the morning and again between 10.30 and midday, Niyitegeka took part in two large scale attacks and was at the head of 6000 assailants, which included soldiers, policemen and the Interahamwe(an extremist Hutu militia), who launched these attacks against the Tutsi refugees in the hillside above Muyira. Niyitegeka himself fired on these Tutsi refugees during the attacks.
Between end April and early May 1994, from 8.30/9.00 a.m. until 15.00 hrs, Niyitegeka participated as leader of a large scale attack carried out by armed assailants against Tutsi refugees in Kivumu, Bisesero. He himself fired on the Tutsi refugees.
On 13 May 1994, between 7-10 a.m., as well as on the following day, Niyitageka took part as the leader in a large scale attack launched by thousands of armed assailants against the Tutsi refugees in the hillside above Muyira. He issued instructions to the attackers, showing them where to go and how best to attack the refugees. He himself fired on the Tutsi refugees. Thousands of Tutsis lost their lives in this attack.
On the evening of 13 May 1994, Niyetegeka held a meeting in Kucyapa at which a stop was put to the massacres programmed for the following day and instead preparations were made for mass killings of the Tutsis in Bisesero, who numbered up to 60 000. There were almost 5 000 people present at this gathering. Using a megaphone, Niytigeka thanked the assailants for participating in the previous attacks and congratulated them. He told them to share out the personal affairs and cattle which belonged to the Tutsis and to eat sufficient meat in order to return the following day with renewed strength to continue the killings.
On 20 May 1994, along the Gisovu-Kibuyu roadside, Niyitegeka shot and killed a young girl of around 13-15 years of age.
On or about 10 June 1994, between 9.00 and 10.00 a.m., Niyitegeka attended a meeting in Kibuye prefecture in the company of Ruzindana, Kayishema and others, with the intent to plan massacres of the Tutsis in Bisesero. During this meeting he promised to furnish weapons in order to accomplish these massacres. The next week, Niyitegeka held a follow up meeting at which the weapons to be used for the planned killings in Bisesero were distributed. Niyitegeka also outlined a plan describing the plan of attack to be conducted the following day against the Tutsis who had sought refuge in Kiziba camp in the Kibuye prefecture. He designated the leaders who would be in charge of five groups of assailants who would launch their attacks at five different points. This plan was put into action the following day during the attack led by Niyitegeka and carried out against the Tutsis in Kiziba, in the Bisesero region of Kibuye. This attack resulted in numerous victims amongst the Tutsi refugees.
On one occasion in June 1994, around 17.00 hrs, Niyitegeka spoke at a gathering held at the prefecture’s office in Kibuye in the presence of Kayishema, Ruzindana, several Interahamwe militiamen and others. He told the audience that he had come to help them unite their efforts in order to overcome the Tutsis and promised the assistance of at least 100 Interahamwe so that the attacks against the Tutsis could be successfully carried out.
On or about 17 June 1994, Nyitegeka held a meeting at the Kibuye prefecture during which he distributed weapons to assault groups to be used against the Tutsis in Bisesero and he outlined a plan of attack to be followed the next day. He encouraged the people present to take part in the attack, asked the mayors to tell all the able bodied men to participate in the killing of Tutsis and announced that he, personally, would be present during the attack.
Around 18 June 1994, between 11.00 and 15/16.00 hrs, Niyitegeka led an attack of armed assailants against the Tutsis who had sought refuge in Kiziba, Bisesero during which he fired on these Tutsi refugees. Niyitegeka himself shot and killed an old man and a young Tutsi boy.
In the evening, Niyitegeka attended a meeting in the canteen of the Kibuye prefecture’s offices, during which he promised to make available the gendarmerie to participate in an attack scheduled for the following day. He urged the mayors and others to do everything in their power to ensure that people would take part in the attacks in order that all of the Tutsis from Bisesero would be killed. The attack took place the following day as foreseen.
On 22 June 1994, after 15.00hrs, Nyitegeka led an attack against Tutsis who had taken refuge on the Kazirandimwe hillside. The attackers flushed out Assiel Kabanda, a well known Tutsi merchant whom they had been trying to find for several days. Niyitegeka and the other assailants were more than pleased to have captured him and showed how happy they were when Kabanda was killed, decapitated, castrated and had his skull pierced through from one ear to the other with a stake. His genitals were attached to a spike and put on public view. Although Niyitegeka had not personally killed Kabanda, he was part of the group which carried out these crimes and demonstrated his pleasure when these acts were committed.
On 28 June 1994, close to the Technical Training College, in a public place, Niyitegeka ordered the Interahamwe to undress a Tutsi woman who had just been shot to death, to fetch a piece of wood, to sharpen it at the end and to then insert it into the woman’s genitalia. This order was then carried out by the Interahamwe in conformity with Niyitegeka’s instructions.
In mid-July 1994, faced with the advance of the troops of the FPR (Rwandan Patriotic Front, an opposition movement composed essentially of Tutsi refugees and led byPaul Kagame), Niyitegeka fled Rwanda in the direction of the Democratic Republic of Congo. On 9 February 1999, he was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya.