Mysterious Death of Witness in Genocide Trial Stirs Concern in Rwanda

The community of Nyabihu district, Rwanda, was confronted with unsettling news on January 29, as Jean Baptiste Bunzira was found dead in his home. Bunzira was notably linked to the genocide trial of Seraphin Twahirwa, where he served as a witness. His death, under circumstances that remain unclear, has sparked a wave of concern and speculation.

Jean Baptiste Bunzira, primarily based in the Bugesera district, was associated with the trial of his brother, Seraphin Twahirwa, in a Belgian court. Twahirwa faced charges of genocide, war crimes, and sexual assault. According to a report by the BBC, Bunzira spent his last known hours with friends. He was later discovered in his house in Nyabihu, his place of birth, hanging in his kitchen.

The nature of Bunzira’s death has given rise to numerous questions. Eyewitness accounts suggest Bunzira was found in a position that has led some to question whether his death was a suicide. Adding to the controversy, the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) allegedly restricted the taking of photographs at the scene and ordered the deletion of any photos taken, as reported by anonymous sources to the BBC.

Efforts by the BBC to contact the RIB and Nyabihu’s local authorities for comments have so far been unsuccessful. This silence has intensified the public’s unease and curiosity about the circumstances surrounding Bunzira’s death.

The sudden demise of Jean Baptiste Bunzira not only leaves his family in mourning but also raises serious concerns about the protection of witnesses in judicial proceedings involving crimes of such a severe nature.