Saturday, June 28, 2008

ICTR Update

I'm sitting at the Impala Hotel in Arusha for an hour while Megan, Morgan, and Lindsey talk to a Tanzanite dealer about pruchasing some Tanzanite. While I wait around, I thought I'd find more information regarding the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda court proceedings we witnessed yesterday. If you go to the following link, you can see all of the court reports for the case we sat in on: Nsengimana Case.

A brief synopsis of this case:
Former Vice-Chancellor of the Christ the King College of Nyanza, Priest Hormisdas Nsengimana, a Hutu, is being tried for genocide and crimes against humanit. Nsengimana has pleaded not guilty. Pastor Nsengimana is accused of having killed a Tutsi priest and seven women from the same ethnic group in Southern Rwanda. Ït is believed that Nsengimana, a Hutu extremist, wanted to exterminate the Tutsis. Before the genocide in 1994, Nsengimana did not hide his hatred for the Tutsis, including his own students, fellow priests, and other employees. He has been quoted as saying (at the time of the genocide), "time is over where churches are to be used as refuge for Tutsis." He was also allegedly the spiritual leader of the group "the Dragons" or "the Death Squad." The members of this group were very active during the genocide in the town of Nyanza. Nsengimana is also believed to have said, "When my rifle kills five people, I feel rested."

The witness we heard speak yesterday was a former teacher at Christ the King College and appeared to have been a Hutu supporter. At the time of the 1994 genocide, she was living in an all women's hostel across the street from the university. The prosecutor questioned her on whether she knew about various people, many of who she claimed to know if, but not have any further details. The prosector also asked her about her knowledge of 60 displaced students who stayed at the university of Easter break. Again, she claimed to no nothing about these students, even when a letter (written by Nsengimana) was read aloud to her that specifically stated there were 60 displaced students staying at the university over Easter break. Another large part of the court hearing we heard dealt with questioning this witness on her knowledge of a roadblock placed in front of her hostel. It is alleged that Nsengimana requested this roadblock, and a few others, be placed near the university to catch all Tutsis who were using that road. Once again, the witness claimed to no nothing about the roadblock, even stating to the prosecutor, "I don't understand why you're so obsessed with this roadblock. I don't have any knowledge about a roadblock in front of our hostel." The last portion of the court proceedings we heard dealt with the prosecutor questioning the witness about a pathway near her hostel that lead to the university. It is alleged that this is where Nsengimana murdered a Tutsi priest.