Rwanda-Bucyibaruta case: Former Gikongoro prefect sentenced in France for 1994 massacres of Tutsis

Benoît Peyrucq / AFP

Paris, 13 July 2022 – After a two-month trial, the Paris Court of Assises sentenced Laurent Bucyibaruta to 20 years’ imprisonment for complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity for his involvement in the massacres committed in spring 1994 in the prefecture of Gikongoro, where he was prefect. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the French Human Rights League (Ligue des droits de l’Homme, LDH), civil parties alongside dozens of victims and other associations, welcome this decision, which takes into account the voice of the victims who have been waiting — for nearly 30 years — for justice to be done.

"This decision marks another step forward in the fight against impunity and is a welcome reminder of the universality of human rights. Perpetrators of such crimes must know that wherever they are, they will be found, prosecuted, and convicted," declared Antonin Gravelin, attorney at Vigo law firm and representative of FIDH and LDH on this case.

The present proceedings were initiated following a complaint filed in January 2000 by FIDH and LDH, which had been informed of Laurent Bucyibaruta’s presence in France.

"While the judicial investigation was abnormally long, the conviction is nevertheless an immense relief for the Tutsi survivors of the Gikongoro prefecture, who have been waiting for justice for far too long," said Patrick Baudouin, LDH president and honorary president of FIDH.

Laurent Bacyibaruta is the fourth person convicted by French courts for international crimes committed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, thanks to the application of universal jurisdiction.

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