15 Jun More on Byuma’s Show Trial
Human Rights Watch provides more information on François-Xavier Byuma’s “trial”:
Byuma, who heads an organization for the defense of childrens’ rights known as Turengere Abana, had previously investigated allegations that Imanzi had raped a young girl. Imanzi was briefly detained and questioned but never prosecuted for rape.
At a first hearing on the genocide charges, Byuma was present, but refused to speak in order to protest the court’s refusal to recuse judges as required by law. At a second hearing, he attempted to defend himself against the charges, but
Imanzi, who was presiding over the session, cut off many of his answers and those of several witnesses who tried to speak in his defense, and in one instance accused a witness of lying.
Byuma was charged with being present at one of the barriers erected to prevent Tutsi fleeing the genocide, having a firearm, and participating in weapons training. The court acquitted him of the first two charges, but found him guilty of participating in weapons training.
In addition, the court found him guilty of several counts not mentioned when the charges were first read, including assaulting and abducting a woman. The woman testified at the trial to allegedly having been abducted and gave contradictory evidence of having been assaulted by Byuma. Such conflicting evidence about the incident was not reconciled or explained by the court in its decision.
After the verdict was announced, Byuma immediately said he would appeal the conviction.
The court acquitted two others on trial with Byuma and accused of the same charges, despite one of those acquitted having admitted his guilt on one of the charges.
Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned Byuma’s conviction. It’s easy to see why.