The Paris Assize Court has delivered its verdict in the trial of Philippe Hategekimana, former chief warrant officer of the Nyanza gendarmerie, in Rwanda. Naturalized French and residing in France for several years, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.
After a trial which began on May 10 and concluded on Wednesday June 28, Philippe Hategekimana, known as Philippe Manier since his naturalization in 2005, was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. The New Times newspaper in Rwanda reports that the accusations relate to the massacres which took place in the localities of Nyanza, Nyabubare, Nyamure, Ntyazo and Isar Songa, where Hategekimana allegedly played a command or coordination role with the gendarmes and the Interahamwe at roadblocks.
The seriousness of the acts committed by Philippe Hategekimana was underlined by the court. In addition to his participation in the genocide, he was convicted of the assassination of Narcisse Nyagasaza, who was the leader of the former commune of Ntyazo, as well as a police officer named Pierre Nyakarashi. These convictions demonstrate the desire of French justice to prosecute those responsible for the atrocities committed during the Rwandan genocide.
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda lasted from April 6 to July 4 and caused the deaths of around 800,000 people, mainly members of the Tutsi ethnic group, according to United Nations estimates. The Tutsis, who make up around 15% of Rwanda’s population, were the targets of systematic and ruthless violence that left deep scars in the country.