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Friday, April 24, 1998 Published at 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK


'This is what they wanted to see'
image: [ More than 125,000 people are awaiting trial in Rwanda's crowded prisons ]
More than 125,000 people are awaiting trial in Rwanda's crowded prisons

The Rwandan Government has gone ahead with executions of convicts found guilty of taking part in the genocide of 1994. The BBC's Cathy Jenkins witnessed events in the Rwandan capital, Kigali:

Four people - three men and one woman - were led out to the execution stakes set up on open ground above the city. They were dressed in the pink uniform of prisoners.

Once bound, they were blindfolded and black target squares were placed on their chests. The waiting lasted for 15 minutes.

Then, the firing squad moved in. They went from left to right - several bullets fired for each prisoner in turn. The woman on the far right was the last.

As the shots rang out, the thousands of people who had come to watch shouted out. There is no doubt that this is what they wanted to see.

One of the men executed in Kigali, Froduald Karamira, was a well-known Hutu propagandist. He was considered one of the major figures whipping up hatred against Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the genocide.

At other sites in the country, more executions have taken place. At Nyamata, a place notorious for a massacre in a church, five men were shot. Twenty-two people were executed in total.

The Rwandan Government ignored the pleas for clemency which continued to come in right up to the public executions.

Whilst deploring the 1994 genocide, many organisations outside Rwanda have questioned whether all the condemned would have had a fair trial.


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