State Loses Interest in Bwindi Massacre Case

4400 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Jean Paul Bizimana, a Rwandan national, was convicted for killing 8 foreign tourists and their Ugandan guide in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1999.

The state has lost interest in pursuing an appeal that it sought to challenge the 15 year jail sentence handed to the Bwindi massacre convict.

Jean Paul Bizimana, a Rwandan national, was convicted for killing 8 foreign tourists and their Ugandan guide in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1999. The slain tourists, who included American, British and New Zealand nationals, were identified as Joanne Cotton, Steven Robert, Martin Friend, Mark Lindergren, Robert Haubner, Rhoda Avis, Micheller Strathern and Susan Miller. Also killed was Paul Ross Wagaba, a Ugandan park warder who was guiding the tourists around the camp.

The hearing of the appeal had come up today before Court of Appeal Justices Constance Byamugisha, Steven Kavuma and Remmy Kasule.
However, Principal State Attorney William Byansi informed court that the state was withdrawing the appeal though he did not give any reasons.

Subsequently, lead judge Byamugisha dismissed the appeal before ordering Bizimana to be returned to Luzira prison to complete serving his 15 year jail sentence.

The convict’s lawyer, Younus Kasirivu, welcomed the idea.

Bizimana, who was found guilty of nine counts of murder in 2006 by retired judge John Bosco Katutsi, is left with about four years to complete serving his 15 year jail term.

He was convicted for being a part of the Interahamwe, members of former Rwanda army of the late President Habyarimana that attacked Buhoma tourist camp in Bwindi Impenetrable national park and killed the tourists.

According to the record of judgment, Bizimana, was convicted for murder though there was no evidence that showed that he personally killed any of the tourists.

The tourists and their guide were killed on March 1, 1999, when the Interahamwe group attacked Buhoma Park before setting it ablaze including the vehicles that were parked there.

A few days later, the attackers were seen in Eastern Congo wearing some of the clothes they had stolen from the tourists, carrying travelling bags, cameras and most of their valuables that they had looted from the victims.

Bizimana was then arrested following extensive investigation into the Bwindi murder that also involved the international investigating bodies like the FBI and the Scotland Yard.