Two former Rwandan mayors went on trial Tuesday in the Assize Court of Paris on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
The two men, Tito Barahira and Octavien Ngenzi, are accused of “supervising and participating in the attack on Tutsis,” even going as far as killing wounded
survivors in a clinic. Because over two decades have passed some have
expressed concern over the difficulty of reconstructing facts and
evidence. If convicted they face life imprisonment.
In January the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
formally closed after issuing 45
judgments. In September a court in Toulouse, France, refused extradition
requests for Joseph Habyarimana, a Rwandan man, facing charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. In January of last year two Rwandan police officers were sentenced to 20 years in jail for the murder of a Transparency International anti-corruption activist.
In July 2014, the ICTR unanimouslyaffirmed a 30-year jail sentence for former army chief Augustin Bizimungu for the role he played in the genocide. In December 2012 the
ICTR convicted former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware, sentencing him to 35 years in prison on charges of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and rape as a crime against humanity.
Paris created a special court to go after suspected Rwandan killers who fled to France, it is expected to lay bare the strained relations between the two countries. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has consistently accused France of complicity in the genocide, which saw at least 800,000 people die in an 100-day slaughter.