Nyarubuye massacre

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The Nyarubuye massacre is the name given to the killing of an estimated 20,000 civilians on April 15, 1994 at the Nyarubuye Roman Catholic Church[1] in Kibungo Province, 140 km (87 mi) east of the Rwandan capital Kigali. The victims were Tutsis and Hutu moderates who had sought refuge in the church. Men, women and children were reported to have been killed indiscriminately, with the attackers allegedly using spears, machetes, clubs, hand grenades and automatic weapons. The church and houses of the nuns and priest where the victims took refuge are now home to the Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial Site.

The massacre was part of the April-June 1994 Rwandan Genocide in which more than 500,000 people died.[1]

On 3 December 2003 a Rwandan court in Rukira, Kibungo found 18 people guilty of genocide crimes. Gitera Rwamuhizi, a leader of the group responsible for the killings, was sentenced to life imprisonment, and after pleading guilty the sentence was dropped to 25 years.[1] The rest were sentenced to terms ranging from 7 to 16 years.

The mayor of Rusumo Sylvestre Gacumbitsi was by the trial chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2004 found guilty of genocide and for of crimes against humanity for rape and extermination and sentenced to life imprisonment.[2]

In the aftermath of the massacre, the place was visited by BBC journalist Fergal Keane who made the story internationally known. One girl he met at a nearby hospital was 13 year old Valentina Izibagiza who had seen her family been killed and survived in the church for more than before being rescued. Three years later he went back to interview her and the documentary "Valentina's Nightmare: A Journey into the Rwandan Genocide" was broadcast in the series Frontline in April 1997.[3] She was also featured in the Frontline documentary "Ghosts of Rwanda" [4] which was broadcast in 2004, marking the 10th anniversary of the massacre.

The church and houses of the nuns and priest where the victims took refuge are home to the Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial Site.


  1. ^ a b c "18 confess to Rwandan genocide". News24. 2003-12-03. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Gacumbitsi, Sylvestre The Hague Justice Portal. Retrieved 18 October 2016)
  3. ^ fergal Keane (The Rwandan Girl Who Refused to Die PBS.1997
  4. ^ Ephgrave, Nicole M., "Sexual Violence at Nyarubuye: History, Justice, Memory. A Case Study of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide"(2015.Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository.Paper 3335.page 39

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