Rwandan youth to sue Burundi Genocide suspects, Banyamulenge want justice

BLOOD ON HIS HANDS: Banyamulenge in Rwanda claim Agathon Rwasa, Burundian opposition leader and his militia massacred their loved ones

BLOOD ON HIS HANDS: Banyamulenge in Rwanda claim Agathon Rwasa, Burundian opposition leader and his militia massacred their loved ones

The Rwandan Genocide Survivor Students Association (AERG) is planning to file a criminal case in pursuit of Burundian citizens who participated in the 1994 Genocide.

“Genocide survivors are restless until we see justice catches up with Burundians such as Kadafi Nzeyimana and his colleagues, who committed genocide crimes in the southern province. We are going to seek justice, and file a case to the international criminal courts of justice” Charles Habonimana, the President of AERG told this website

According to AERG, Burundians crossed to Rwanda during the Genocide and collaborated with Hutu militia in the killings that claimed thousands of lives, especially in the southern regions at the Rwanda-Burundi border.

The role of ordinary Burundians or Burundi government officials one of the issues that has not been addressed by the Rwandan authorities thus far even though there are Genocide survivors who lost their loved ones at the hands of Rwanda’s neighbours to the South.

Burundians were allegedly involved in the massacres in Mayaga area- which includes parts of current Bugesera district, and Ntongwe and Kinazi in Ruhango district, Mugina in Kamonyi district and all over southern province.

Prof Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu the President of IBUKA, an umbrella organisation bringing together several Genocide survivors’ association, says the pursuit of Burundian Genocide suspects will have to take a collective effort of the international community to agree on setting modalities for their apprehension and trial.

Dusingizemungu alleges the same Burundian Genocide suspects are the same people causing chaos in Burundi today as they still pursue their genocidal ideology.

Agathon Rwasa Vs Banyamulenge

Agathon Rwasa is a Burundian political figure, and one of the opposition candidates running against President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Rwasa’s name keeps coming up in testimonies of Congolese of Rwandan origin (Banyamulenge) whenever they commemorate the “genocide” perpetrated against them in Burundi 10 years ago, Banyamulenge say.

Some of the Banyamulenge Congolese who now live in Rwanda, say 166 of their loved ones were massacred at Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi by Burundi militia men. The Banyamulenge have for years, petitioned the United Nations to recognize these massacres as “Genocide” to no success.

On the fateful night of August 13, 2004, Gatumba was the scene of one of the bloodiest civilian massacres in recent years, carried out by Hutu militia in Burundi, with the help of the Congolese.

Armed militia belonging to the Forces for National Liberation- Palipehutu (FNL-Palipehutu) massacred the refugees and wounded another 116.

Relatives of the victims and survivors say Rwasa and his FNL-Parpehutu militia should be held accountable for their crimes.

There have been reports indicating Rwasa himself acknowledged his forces participated in these massacres with the help of Interahamwe (Rwandan militia that carried out most of the killings in the Rwandan Genocide).

Survivors say that the camp where the killings took place had two parts; the first part was occupied by Banyamulenge and some families of Bambembe while the other part was occupied by Bafulero and Burundian refugees.

They say two sections were differentiated by the colour of the tents; the attack targeted the section that housed the Banyamulenge. One of the survivors, Saraphine Gasose, recounts that the attacks lasted for about two hours leaving mutilated bodies, many of them burnt and scattered throughout the camp.