Former Rwandan MP Fined for Illegal Firearm Possession

On May 29, 2024, the Nyarugenge Primary Court in Rwanda found Barikana Eugène guilty of illegally possessing firearms and fined him 500,000 Rwandan Francs (Frw). Barikana, a former member of the Rwandan Parliament, was initially arrested on May 13, 2024, after a magazine containing 10 bullets and a grenade were found at his residence.

During the trial held on May 23, 2024, Barikana admitted to the charges and requested leniency, stating that he did not intend to use the firearms for any harmful purpose. Despite his plea, the prosecution recommended a two-year prison sentence, emphasizing the seriousness of the offense and Barikana’s failure to report the weapons to the authorities.

The court, while recognizing Barikana’s admission of guilt and cooperation, ruled that there was no evidence to support his claim of harmless intent. The court noted that Barikana’s failure to notify the authorities and the testimony of a witness who discovered the firearms contributed to his conviction.

In delivering its verdict, the court decided that although Barikana should be punished, the penalty should be reduced due to his admission of guilt. According to the law, the court could impose either a prison sentence or a fine. Consequently, the court opted for a fine, reducing it from one million Frw to 500,000 Frw.