On June 30, students from 13 students from Usa River Academy traveled to the United Nation’s Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to observe the judgment reading of Augustine Bizimungu who served as Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army during the genocide. This blog was written by two students who were in attendance—Kalangu and Suziana. Enjoy!
It was about 13:10 PM when we departed from Usa River Secondary school in our very clean and smart minibus, heading for Arusha International Conference Centre, especially for the reading of Augustine Bizimungu’s case on the genocide in Rwanda that took place in 1994. Accompanied by our two beautiful guardians, we arrived safely and entered into the beautiful, big building. We were very excited to listen to the reading and it was very astonishing to enter into a building very high ranked. We thereafter took pictures saying “cheese” and finally entered into the building. We headed straight to the courtroom where only five students successfully sat down and had a chance to get headsets to listen to the reading. Unfortunately other students stood up in the room without being able to hear the reading (because of the crowd of people).
In the courtroom were the Judges, assistant judges, superintendents, defense side, prosecutors side, and finally the audience. The reading done by the Judge was all about the crimes committed by the Military head of Rwanda, Augustine Bizimungu that was violence to the Tutsi brothers and sisters, killing of thousands of people, genocide and crimes against humanity. Afterwards, the Judge kindly asked Mr. Bizimungu to stand up and the judge kept on reading Bizimungu’s trial and what was his judgment. He was finally told to sit down after the judgment, saying he will still stay in custody until further investigation. He will still serve 30 years in prison that he was already sentenced to when caught in 2002. He was caught on August 2nd, 2002 in Angola after running away from Rwanda.
After the finished, the superintendents offered the files to the defense side, prosecutors side and the other judges, thereafter the officials told all the people to rise in the departure of the Judges and all the staff. Because of the inconvenience, the students were taken into a conference room for further information being talked about inside the courtroom. In the conference room were four university students studying law on field and practical work. These individuals all from different countries further explained about the whole case and later on provided the chance for questions and opinions. We were very enthusiastic to have heard and seen that even at AICC. The officials offered us presents that were files holding the whole case of Bizimungu and also comics drawn for the situation of genocide.
Though the event took us past lunch hour that meant that everyone was quite hungry. Our lovely guardians took us out for lunch at a quiet and beautiful lunch inn beside the road. There we ordered and thereafter ate our delicious lunch. After finishing up, our minibus came to pick us up and take us back to school. On the way, our lovely guardians alighted from the minibus and we thanked them for everything they had done for us. More thanks went to the TFFT organization. We finally reach safely and continued with our school routines.
The lessons we learned from the trip we had was as follows:
- The trip helped us to see how the international community organization such as the UN demonstrates that it will not tolerate crimes of genocide.
- It helps us to take effective measures to bring justice to the person responsible for crimes.
- It creates the state’s transparency open to the community and society.
These were the lessons obtained from the trip. That’s the way our trip was on that very lovely Monday.