The Paris Assize Court is prosecuting Philippe Manier, the former chief warrant officer of the Nyanza gendarmerie, for “genocide” and “crimes against humanity”, particularly for his purported role in multiple massacres at the end of April 1994. Manier denies these charges.
The CPCR, founded by Dafroza and Alain Gauthier, had Domitille Philippart plead on their behalf this Friday, June 23rd in the trial of Philippe Manier. Dafroza Gauthier, who is at the origin of the complaint, also represented 55 survivors and relatives of victims.
The CPCR is “the commitment of a lifetime” for the Gauthiers. “For years, they have traveled the hills of Rwanda in search of testimonies and elements to support their complaint”, begins Me Philippart, “necessary work”, she underlines, since before 2012 and the creation of the crime against humanity pole, such a complaint was needed for an investigation to be opened and that “even today, the collective has this role of lighting the fuse,” she says.
The lawyer denounced the defense for attempting to “systematically discredit” the victims and witnesses by criticizing this proactive approach. He stated that he had heard the “little music of false witnesses, manipulated or avengers” from the opening of the trial and further expressed that this “defense strategy” which tries to “make the victims the persecutors” is heard “in all the trials” of the genocide.
For her, the debates showed that Philippe Manier participated in the massacres but as Chief Warrant Officer of the Gendarmerie, he “incited” the population to the killings, often setting the example himself. “His orders were respected”, and “he had the power of life or death”, she points out.