Rwanda : Residents want Uwinkindi’s trial in Kayenzi
The residents of Kayenzi in Bugesera district want the genocide case trail of Pastor Jean Bosco Uwikindi’s to be brought to the area (ADEPR-Kayenzi church) where the alleged genocide conspiracy crimes were committed in 1994.
“Let him come here and say those words in front of all the people who knew him during the genocide. If he denies that he isn’t the one, let him come and say those words face to face with the witnesses to his case” one resident says.
Witnesses say that Uwinkindi was a man known by almost everybody in this place, because of his social status as a pastor of a church. He originates from former Kibuye prefecture (now Karongi district) and was assigned there as a head pastor of the Pentecostal church (ADEPR-Kayenzi).
“He was a good man, preached the word of God and everybody liked him because he encouraged residents to turn to God. To the surprise of many of us, when it come to 1994, Uwinkindi changed and was instead asking people to kill all Tutsi’s – which was contrary to any teaching of Christianity” says one of the residents who knew Uwinkindi personally.
For many witnesses there is only one desire on the case of Pastor Uwinkindi- to have his case brought to Kayenzi church grounds for trial- even for just a single season.
“I know him (Uwinkindi) personally and we even shared cows before he turned into an evil man. I really want to look at Uwinkindi, greet him face to face and see how he reacts to the situation” says one of the elderly men whose family member was killed on orders of the pastor.
The witnesses argue that if the trial is brought to the grounds where the alleged crimes were committed, their hearts will be relieved and it also feels the sense of participation in the process of justice.
“I am sure we are going to be called to testify in this case, but we would like the community to be involved in such cases that changed lives of the society…This is a very important case and we would like to be part of it even for once”
One of his sons, who participated in Genocide and now is serving a 30 years jail sentence in Rilima prison, is expected to be one of the key plays in the witness on his father’s involvement in genocide. The young man has previously witnessed in the Gacaca courts, on how his father (Uwinkindi) ordered the killings and slaughter of animals belonging to Tutsi’s in Kayenzi.
Pastor Uwikindi was arrested in Uganda in Isingiro district, southwest Uganda, at the end of June 2010. He is charged with the crimes of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as crime against humanity and alleged to have committed the crimes in Kigal Rural Prefecture between April and July 1994, where he participated in the massacre at Kayenzi ADEPR Church.
Pastor Jean Bosco Uwikindi’s case was the first case to be transferred to Rwanda by the Arusha-Tanzania based International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR). The initial trial of the pastor’s case was supposed to start off this August 2012, but he has insisted on more time (four months) to study the case file.