Military high court rules Cpl Gahamanyi to life in Prison

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A Military High Court sitting in Mukamira Sector, Nyabihu District has sentenced a soldier of the Rwanda Defence Forces to life imprisonment for killing six people and injuring 13.

Cpl. Venant Gahamanyi committed the crime on October 8, after a quarrel in a local bar, over payment of beer bills.

Court also stripped Gahamanyi of his military rank, as Prosecution led by Lt Faustian Nzakamwita, had requested.

Delivering the verdict yesterday in a court fully packed with soldiers and civilians, Judge Maj. Bernard Ndayisaba said,
“After some deliberations, the court has found the accused guilty of the crimes of premeditated murder and attempt to assassination.”

“Therefore Cpl Gahamanyi is hereby sentenced to life in prison for the above mentioned crimes, and stripped of all military ranks.”

Gahamanyi, who appeared in a sombre mood, was given 30 days to appeal if he felt dissatisfied with the verdict.His lawyer, Janvier Ndaruhutse, said he would appeal.

Earlier during the trial on Tuesday, Gahamanyi together with his advocate, Ndaruhutse, argued that he was provoked into shooting after being humiliated and roughed up by a gang who included the bar owner.

His defence was corroborated by residents, who claimed that four men and the bar’s owner had ganged up against Gahamanyi, undressed him, forcing him to retreat and pick the firearm.
“I saw a woman called Specioze Nyirasoni, the owner of the bar, holding this soldier by the neck and pulling his private parts. They wanted to kill him but he managed to sneak out, went and brought the gun and ended up with the whole mess,” said one Kabuguma, briefly interrupting the hearing.
But court dismissed this defence.

However, this case did not pass without incident as residents maintained that the soldier was a good man who was provoked into shooting.
Angry residents dissatisfied with the ruling, blocked the road and stormed the house of Nyirasoni, the bar owner, threatening to lynch her.

It took the intervention of police which shot in the air to disperse the crowd. Nyirasoni was later whisked to the district for safe custody.

“We had deployed armed soldiers with the police at her house, but she still fears for her life since the whole community has turned against her,” a security official said.

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    November 2, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    “After some deliberations, the court has found the accused guilty of the crimes of premeditated murder and attempt to assassination>

    i don’t think this kind of crime was established by any Rwandan criminal code, it maybe murder or assassination.
    because murder id different from assassination, they are even committed in the different way.
    murder: the fact of having the intention to kill(animus nocendi) is eanough for the cime to be called murder.
    but assassination: there must be the premeditation, get apen, or torture.
    so according to the motivation of that case, that soldier committed the crime of murder not attempt of assassination.

    i don’t see what his lawyer based on saying that it was self deffense. the fact of going and coming back with a gan can not be justified as a self deffense

  2. Robert Mugabe

    November 3, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    Dear HAMUDU,
    Sir,would you consult the law mainly in Penal code articles 312-314 for the definition of Assassination and Murder
    Remember,when the prosecutor have a window to prove Cpl Gahamanyi role to have planed (Premeditated) got apen it would grant him assassination. which I think was the case.
    it would be called murder, if the prosecutor fails to prove Cpl Gahamanyi’s role in planing


      November 3, 2010 at 3:47 PM

      Dear ROBERT.
      the prosecutor can’t prove that, since the Cpl didn’t plan this for the long time. he had non intention to kill when he came into that bar, but the intention to kill came when he was proveked.
      they have to count the time from which he decided to kill, he should do that with cold blood.
      that is what the lawyers use to call murder with specific intent.
      look the number of the people murdered is not countable.
      remember he killed even people who had nothing to do with their problem just because of the lack of plan.
      according to the art312CPR. there have to be get apen and premeditation, this means that if one of the elements is missing it won’t be called assassination but murder, so tell me if both elements are complent in this case?
      according to the art 316CPL is there any torture in this case?

      • Editor

        November 3, 2010 at 4:39 PM

        thank you for the discussion but the effort of the soldier from the bar to the camps and spend their 40 minutes and dogged the guards of the barracks in full army fatigue after the advice of his superiors in vain can interpreted as a plan(Premeditation) action. making it assassination. got apen element of art 312 can’t be only proved by going to lay an ambush in the way only but thinking of bringing a weapon and leaving other bars coming straight to the same Bar can also be interpreted as get apen or ambush.
        shorting people in the bar thus killing every one included those who were not concerned was a result of those who were resisting him by throwing bottles to him but his target was not to shoot everyone

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