Conviction of a former Rwandan prefect for complicity in crimes committed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda
Type of jurisdiction
Laurent Bucyibaruta, former Prefect of Gikongoro and head of the prefectural committee of the Interahamwe movement (the youth organization of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development)
Country of residence of suspect
Complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity
Convicted; sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment; awaiting appeal; detained
According to his conviction, as Prefect of Gikongoro, Bucyibaruta aided the Tutsi massacres at the school under construction in Murambi and in the parishes of Cyanika and Kaduha, all committed on 21 April 1994. He also aided the executions of students at the Marie Merci school in Kibeho, and those committed during rounds and at roadblocks.
Procedure before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) indicted Bucyibaruta on 16 June 2005 for incitement to genocide, genocide and complicity in genocide, as well as crimes against humanity including extermination, murder and rape.
In August 2007, the ICTR issued an arrest warrant requesting that the French government detain Bucyibaruta. On 20 November 2007, the ICTR referred the case to the French authorities.
Procedure in France
On 5 January 2000, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organization in France, the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH), lodged a complaint against Bucyibaruta for his alleged participation in the genocide. The Prosecutor of Troyes questioned and detained Bucyibaruta on 3 May 2000. He was released on 20 December 2000.
Bucyibaruta was arrested again on 5 September 2007 and placed under judicial surveillance after the issuance of the arrest warrant by the ICTR. On 9 May 2017, the investigative judge informed the parties that he had completed his investigation.
On 4 October 2018, the prosecution issued its final submission requesting that Bucyibaruta be sent to trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. On 24 December 2018, the investigative judges referred the case to the Paris Criminal Court for complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. The accused appealed the referral.
On 7 October 2020, a hearing took place before the Paris Court of Appeals, following the appeals lodged by the accused and by civil parties against the referral of the case to the Paris Criminal Court.
On 21 January 2021, the Court of Appeal confirmed the referral of the case, changing the charges from complicity to direct perpetration of genocide for certain criminal facts, and adding other charges which had been rejected by the investigative judge.
Development in 2022
On 9 May 2022, Bucyibaruta was released on parole to appear free before the court.
Bucyibaruta’s trial took place from 9 May to 1 July 2022 before the Paris Criminal Court. He was acquitted as a direct perpetrator of the genocide and crimes against humanity but was found guilty of complicity in those crimes for aiding and abetting the perpetration of massacres at the school under construction in Murambi and in the parishes of Cyanika and Kaduha on 21 April 1994, as well as the executions of students at the Marie Merci school in Kibeho and those committed during rounds and at roadblocks.
Bucyibaruta was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment and was detained again at the end of the trial. He appealed the conviction.