- After being held for 11 years, a Rwandan journalist was finally acquitted of genocide charges by a popular local "gacaca" tribunal in the southern district of Ruhango.
Tataina Mukakibibi, 42, was a former presenter and producer with the state-owned 'Radio Rwanda'. She was reunited with her family last Saturday.
Mukakibibi was charged with planning and participating in the genocide and distributing weapons in Kimegeri between April and July 1994.
But after a three-hour hearing, she walked home a free woman.
According to defence witnesses, Mukakibibi had neither distributed weapons, nor participated in the 100-day mass slaughter of Tutsis and moderate Hutus by the Hutu militia. They testified that she was not present when a presidential guard distributed genocide weapons.
There was also no evidence linking her to the main charge - the murder of Eugène Bwanamudogo - a Tutsi journalist murdered while producing broadcasts fro the Agriculture Ministry.
After the 1994 genocide dust gathered, Mukabibi worked for André Sibomana, a Catholic priest, human rights activist and former editor of 'Kinyamateka' newspaper.
She was arrested four two years later [2 October] and held in appalling conditions in a communal cell for three months before being transferred to prison.
Describing the charge as "trumped up", Makibibi denied it saying it was part of a smear campaign against Sibomana.
“After 11 years in detention for nothing, we hope this journalist will finally be able resume a normal life with her daughter, who is now a teenager,” the Paris-based Reporters sans frontières (RSF) said. “This tragic case must be regarded as closed, now that Mukakibibi has been cleared of the charges brought against her.”
The acquitted journalist was adopted by Amina, Les Clés de l’Actualité, Fun Radio (Belgium), Flair, Claire Gibault (Member of the European Parliament), L’Itinéraire, Elle Québec and Chérie FM, RSF said.
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