Justice in sight after 20 years: First trial in Rwandan genocide begins

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Paris: The first trial for Rwandan Genocide that shook the world in 1994 began in Paris on Tuesday.   At least 500,000 people belonging to the ethnic Tutsi tribe were slaughtered by ethnic Hutu tribe in over 100 days.54 year old Pascal Simbikangwa, also known as “Pascal Safari”  who was the intelligence chief, faces charges of complicity in genocide and complicity in war crimes. He could face a life sentence if convicted after the seven-week trial.

The tensions between both the tribes were brewing for long time but it was the assisnation of Rwandan President Juvénal

Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Hutu president of Burundi on April 6, 1994 that served as the catalyst for this genocidal slaughter of Tutsi tribe. Leslie Haskell, the international justice counsel for Human Rights Watch  said in a statement, “Today’s trial in Paris will be an important moment in the global fight against impunity. He added, “France now has the tools it needs to ensure (that) perpetrators of the world’s most serious crimes don’t escape justice or find a safe haven in the country”.

French government  had close ties with  slain Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and France has been blamed by many  for slow reaction to the genocide. It was French troops that armed and trained the Rwandan army before killings. During the genocide, they allegedly helped radical Hutus flee. Later, France took in a number of exiles who have lived there for years free of prose.