Months After Massacres, Relatives of Victims Make Sad Homecoming to Rwandan Villages

ANNE MARIE KABATENDE stares through an open door of a partially destroyed house here at the skeletal remains of her family, victims of the genocide that engulfed the country earlier this year.

A child's notebook, an empty purse, remains of clothing, a twisted metal bed frame, and apparent machete-inflicted gashes in some of the skulls testify to the horrible murders that occurred here. Gaps in the walls and twisted tin roofing indicate grenades may have been tossed in.

``My parents and my sister are in here,'' Ms. Kabatende says quietly. Another sister, Patricia peers in through a hole in one wall.

The remains of at least a dozen victims are evident. Others were dumped in a now-covered hole in the earth, a few feet from the house.

``They were [throwing in] people still alive with dead bodies,'' says Kabatende, based on accounts she'd heard from a few survivors.

According to one account, a local Hutu official ordered the Tutsi rounded up and put in the house for their ``protection'' as the country erupted in genocide. Then the Tutsi were attacked.

The killing site was only recently discovered. Hutu militia ``death squads'' suspected of still being in the area had deterred visitors. Kabatende's visit to this rural farming area, just 15 miles east of the capital Kigali, was made with a Rwandan military escort.

``There are many places like this,'' some still undetected, she says.

OW she and other surviving Tutsi - and moderate Hutus who escaped the hard-line Hutu killers - must decide what punishment they want for the guilty.

The United Nations-approved international tribunal that is expected to judge a handful of top organizers is not good enough for her, she says.

People such as the local official who rounded up the victims ``should be judged'' as well, she says.

Courtroom trials of the estimated 30,000 or more Hutus suspected of participating in the killings, if they can be apprehended, may take ``five to six years,'' says Tito Rutaremara, president of the Human Rights Commission of Rwanda, which is investigating the genocide. ``You can never think of judging all these people.''

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK