Truth On Trial
The challenges of finding the truth in cases of crimes against humanity is revealed in the trial of a Rwandan priest.
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2012 08:16
Some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in the 1994 massacre [Al Jazeera]

Filmmaker Beate Arnestad

Hormisdas Nsengimana stands trial for genocide and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

During the 1994 genocide, Hormisdas was working as a priest and rector of a Catholic secondary school when some 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in the three-month massacre.


Send us your views and join the Witness community

The killings that lasted about 100 days was the culmination of long-standing ethnic competition and tensions between the minority Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries, and the majority Hutus, who had come to power in the rebellion of 1959–62.

Nsengimana was allegedly affiliated to a group of Hutu extremists that carried out attacks on Tutsis, and is accused of direct and indirect involvement in the killings.

Fifteen years later, a Norwegian judge has to base his verdict on oral testimonies that plead both in favour of and against the priest. How will he interpret the different versions of the truth?

Nsengimana's defence lawyer explains: "There are many difficulties. It is neccessary to find witnesses who saw and heard something. It's not easy, people say 'No I did not see anything'. They don't want to be included in this complicated process."

Watch more Witness films for global issues brought into focus through courageous and inspiring human stories.


Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.
join our mailing list