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On November 6, 2009, RCMP officers arrested Jacques Mungwarere in Windsor, Ontario on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He was the second person prosecuted under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Mungwarere was officially indicted on May 26, 2010. He eventually faced one count of genocide and one count of crimes against humanity.
Witnesses made a number of accusations against Mungwarere, a former teacher in Rwanda. Initial allegations included that Mungwarere distributed guns to the Interahamwe, shot and killed a 10-month-old infant, decapitated a 14-year-old girl, participated in a meeting on how to kill Tutsis at Bisesero, kicked and shot a 5-year-old child and participated in the murder of hundreds of civilians at the Mugonero church complex. At trial, most of the testimony focused on the killings at Mugonero and Bisesero and whether Mungwarere participated in those attacks.
On July 5, 2013, after 26 weeks of trial, Judge Charbonneau found Mungwarere not guilty of the charges. The judge ruled that although he did not give credibility to Mungwarere’s testimony, the Crown had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
CCIJ monitored the trial and wrote detailed summaries available in the Documents section. We are very grateful to all the CCIJ volunteers who served as monitors and took detailed notes of the proceedings. In particular, we thank Janine Lespérance, Marie-Pier Dupont, Devon Robertson and Valérie Latreille for their tremendous work on the weekly summaries.
- 6 April 1994: Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana is killed when his plane is shot down, Interahamwe and other extremists begin systematic killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
- 16 April 1994: Hundreds of civilians are murdered at the Mugonero church complex in the Kibuye prefecture. Mungwarere is accused of involvement in the attack.
- April – July 1994: An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus are killed.
- June 2000: Canada’s Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Actbecomes law.
- 15 April 2001: Mungwarere comes to Canada, gaining refugee status a year later.
- 2003: A childhood acquaintance recognizes Mungwarere on a bus in Windsor, Ontario and contacts the RCMP.
- February 2007: The RCMP’s lead investigator takes the first of three investigative trips to Rwanda.
- December 2007: Mungwarere contacts police and says he has heard he is being investigated.
- April 2008: Mungwarere meets with an RCMP investigator. This is followed by another meeting and several letters from Mungwarere to the RCMP.
- 22 May 2009: Désiré Munyaneza is convicted in Montreal of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Rwanda. This is Canada’s first conviction under the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
- October 2009: Mungwarere speaks with CBSA about returning to Rwanda. Police surveillance shows Mungwarere visiting the library frequently, looking for information on various countries.
- 6 November 2009: Mungwarere is arrested in Windsor.
- February 2011: Mungwarere withdraws his request for bail.
- May 2011: The Superior Court of Ontario rules that the Crown’s indictment is legally proper.
- December 2011: The court rules that the identities of certain witnesses can be protected.
- 30 April 2012: On the day jury selection is to begin, Mungwarere withdraws his request for trial by jury and decides to try the case before a judge.
- 28 May 2012: The presentation of evidence begins.
- 28 May – 1 June 2012: RCMP officials testify about their investigation of Mungwarere.
- 7 June 2012: First Rwandan witness, Gérard Bandora, testifies.
- 18 June 2012: Witnesses begin testimony by video from Rwanda.
- 3 July 2012: Convicted Hutu genocidaire testifies that Mungwarere participated in killings.
- 23 July 2012: After final prosecution witness decides not to testify, the Crown finishes presentation of its case.
- 9 October 2012: The defence case begins.
- 28 January 2013: Jacques Mungwarere testifies in his own defence.
- 13 February 2013: The last defence witness testifies.
- 21 March 2013: The trial ends
- 5 July 2013: Judge rules that Jacques Mungwarere is not guilty
* Elements of the timeline are based on characterizations made or testimony given in pretrial proceedings.