Huye, Rwanda 2 August 09
Domitilie breaks down into tears describing how she found the body of her husband Paul, hacked to death near their home in Huye, Rwanda. Paul Rutayisire survived the genocide that ended in 1994. A gang of murderers killed him in October 2007. After fighting back tears she said, " Whenever I think of how I found him dead and how they had cut him, sometimes I feel like running mad and running into the streets."
Domitilie believes Paul was murdered for his role on a local court, known as gacaca, organized to try hundreds of thousands of lower lever genocide perpetrators. Killers disagreed with verdicts passed down by Paul and the panel of judges.
They threatened him, then they killed him in the same brutal fashion nearly 1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the genocide.
Domitilie is left with her 8 children, ranging in age from 2 to 21. Paul's sister Elisabeth helps where she can to support Domitilie. Elisabeth lives 20 minutes away up a rutted red dirt road in Huye (formerly known as Butare), Rwanda's second largest city. After Paul's murder Elisabeth tried to help Domitlie move her family closer to the sector office for better protection. Elisabeth says local officials refused, afraid that moving the family would scare the neighbors. Despite a government ban on formally identifying Hutus and Tutsis, today she feels unsafe at home and is worried about receiving visitors. She fears her neighbors will infer she is talking about Paul's murder. She said, "In prisons (the killers) accept what they did and they are forgiven, where they explain what they did, people they killed, all the bad things they did. And then they are forgiven and then they are brought back to where they lived, and they do it again. "
Like most Rwandan genocide survivors Domitilie says she has tried to reconcile with killers. But she firmly denies the positive results most others report, "Is it possible to reconcile with the suspects? We wanted to reconcile but they couldn't accept. Even now they don't want to reconcile with us. Instead they are still trying to kill us."
Paul is one of more than 150 genocide survivors to be murdered since 1995, one year after the genocide ended according to the survivors organization IBUKA, which means "remember" in Kinyarwanda. In recent years the killings have increased as more survivors have testified against neighbors who killed their families.
Domitiilie asserts passionately that many of her neighbors and people around the country are wrong, "They want to show the whole world that there's peace in Rwanda. But for sure there's no peace in Rwanda, cause the victims are still in danger. The hands that killed still have the intention to kill once again."