Rwandan: Justice to punish reluctant tycoons

Gérard Urayeneza

By The Rwandan Lawyer


The owner of university of Gitwe; hospital of Gitwe; Adventist church of Gitwe and other properties was recently sentenced for genocide and destruction of remains of genocide victims. This judgment is ruled after conflicts that opposed this billionaire with public powers whereby he seemingly refused to financially cooperate with them and the sanction may not be delayed applying with the Manichean policy of Rwanda according to which who is not with them is against them. 

1.The judgment 

The Intermediate Court in Muhanga district on Thursday sentenced Gérard Urayeneza to life imprisonment for complicity in the crime of Genocide and complicity to cover up evidence or information about the Genocide. Urayeneza, who was the Director General of the Ruhango-based Gitwe Hospital and the legal representative and founder of Gitwe University, was arrested in June 2020, along with several other individuals on accusations of committing genocide crimes and covering them up. The arrest came after several remains were unearthed from hidden graves in the hospital premises. Urayeneza was detained by Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) on June 15, 2020, along with other individuals who survived the 194 Genocide against the Tutsi, who were accused of conniving with Urayeneza to conceal evidence. Urayeneza and other defendants denied the allegations, saying it was a conspiracy plot by some of the survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi to seek revenge. He had previous been cleared by Gacaca Courts for any wrong doings. However, 26 years later, the bodies were unearthed. Prosecution said Urayeneza had paid of the other individuals, who are genocide survivors, never to reveal the information. Other individuals in the case sentenced to life are Munyampundu Léon alias Kinihira and Ruganiza Benjamin, who fled the country and was sentence in absentia. Other individuals in the case, Rutaganda Dominique, Nyakayiro Samuel and Nsengiyaremye Elisé, were sentenced to eight years in prison, each, after there were found guilty of concealing or distorting evidence or information about the Genocide and a fine of Rwf750,000. Urayeneza and his co-accused were not in court when the decision was delivered but they followed the proceedings virtually. He said he would appeal the sentence. The two men sentence alongside Urayeneza are accused of manning a roadblock in front of Gitwe Hospital and possession of fire arms which they used to hunt their victims. Urayeneza and his co-accused were also direct to pay Rwf9 million to Uwera Marie Grace in damages and Rwf3 million in legal and civil fees. On the other hand, Rutaganda, Nyakayiro and Nsengiyaremye were also ordered to pay Rwf2.4 million to Uwere as compensation. Urayeneza, Munyampundu and Ruganiza were ordered to pay Mukamazimpaka Marie Chantal damages with Rwf4 million and Rwf3 million in legal fees. Similarly, the court also ordered Rutaganda, Nyakayiro and Nsengiyaremye to pay her Rwf2.4 million as legal redress. The court directed the trio of Urayeneza, Munyampundu and Ruganiza to pay Jimmy Ndagijimana compensation of Rwf8 million while Rutaganda, Nyakayiro and Nsengiyaremye were ordered to pay him Rwf2.4 million. They were also ordered to pay Semavenge Cyprien Rwf4 million in compensation and Rwf3 million as legal redress. The co-accused were all ordered to pay Tuyishime Eric Rwf 4 million and Rwf 3 million in compensation and legal redress. Others to be compensated include Ndatsikira Ribakare Eric, Mahene Byiringiro Jean Paul, Mugwaneza Valérie compensation of 8 million Frw and a production profit of 3 million while Mukasahaha Ruth, Murindabyuma Isidore and Mutamuriza Florence, will not be compensated.


Some indicators among many other reflect a cooked case politically motivated.

2.1.Flagrant partial injustice 

The accused was supported by genocide survivors confirming that he was also threatened as his wife was also wanted as a tutsi;gacaca courts did not involve him; some private records testify that he was victim of a conspiracy planned by people against him aiming to fraudulently get his property. All those proofs defending him were automatically rejected without any convincing justification.

2.2.A political motive 

The officials of RPF are already aware that the accused is very rich to have unofficially accessed his bank accounts; he is owner of the university of Gitwe; Gitwe hospital; the ESAPAG secondary school; Adventist Church of the area and many other premises.

Having refused to join this governing party; having refused to release huge funds from his accounts; he was exposed to any consequences including death. The state closed his university despite it is more equipped that the university of Rwanda as far as laboratories of medicine faculty are concerned; the remains of genocide victims found out in the premises of the hospital are falsely imputed to him and then the crimes of genocide and destruction of genocide victims remains are consequently cooked because he is from then on a useless citizen deserving to die.


it is not the first time that cases are manufactured against political opponents or people who do not consent to fund the political party. When he is a Tutsi the tax administration attacks him for tax fraud estimated to millions; the prosecution arrest them for crimes of rape; child defilement; embezzlement; when he is a Hutu he is a genocide author; accomplice of rebellions, author genocide ideology, and others to exclude him from the society.  The case of URAYENEZA is reflecting just the latter alternative.