EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 47/16/95
UA 195/95 Fear of further political killings 9 August 1995
RWANDAPlacide KOLONI, administrator of Ruhango sub-prefecture
Immaculée NYIRAMBIBI, wife of Placide Koloni
Marie-Claire UMUTONIWASE, daughter of Placide Koloni
Caline UWAMAHORO, daughter of Placide Koloni
Séraphine MUREKATETE, Placide Koloni's servant
Pie NTAHOBALI, Roman Catholic priest
Oreste HABINSHUTI, former administrator of Gikongoro sub-prefecture
Recent killings, apparently politically-motivated, have heightened fears for
the safety of other individuals who may be similarly targeted. People released
from prison because there is insufficient evidence of their involvement in
the 1994 massacres are believed to be particularly at risk.
On 27 July 1995, Placide Koloni, together with his wife Immaculée Nyirambibi,
his daughters Marie-Claire Umutoniwase and Caline Uwamahoro (both under 16
years old) and his servant, Séraphine Murekatete, were killed at their home
by unidentified attackers. The attackers killed them with weapons including
knives and clubs, then set their house on fire, with the five bodies inside.
Soldiers of the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) were reportedly seen very near
Placide Koloni was the administrator (sous-préfet) of Ruhango sub-prefecture
in the prefecture of Gitarama. He had held the same post under the previous
government which dismissed him apparently because he tried to protect people
from massacres in his sub-prefecture. He was reinstated by the current
government in August 1994. On 14 February 1995, he was arbitrarily arrested
and accused of taking part in the 1994 massacres. He was imprisoned in Gitarama
Prison, where the conditions resulting from overcrowding are notoriously harsh.
On 24 July, he was released on the recommendation of a screening committee
known as Commission de triage. Screening committees have been set up to study
the cases of over 40,000 prisoners held without trial and to release those
against whom there is insufficient evidence. He was killed three days later.
Amnesty International is concerned that prisoners such as Placide Koloni who
are released because of insufficient evidence against them become obvious
targets for reprisals as soon as they are released. The decision to release
him and three others from Gitarama prison on 24 July prompted protests against
the release of those branded as perpetrators of genocide (génocidaires). One
of those released, Wenceslas Sekaziga, a former judge at canton level in the
commune of Musambira, was subsequently rearrested and re-imprisoned because
of these protests.
The government has announced it will launch an inquiry into the killing of
Placide Koloni and his family. Details on the progress of this inquiry are
not available. The government has announced inquiries into the killing of
several other Hutu officials but their findings have not been revealed.
In separate incidents, the bodies of two men were discovered on 2 August.
One was that of Pie Ntahobali, a Roman Catholic priest, who had been taken
away by soldiers from his home in Kamonyi on the evening of 1 August. A peasant
found his body the following day in a banana plantation less than two kilometres
away from his parish; he had been shot through the eye. Pie Ntahobali was
a Hutu priest who had tried to protect Tutsi seeking refuge in his parish during
the mass killings of Tutsi by the former government forces and militia in 1994.