Guest / Limited Access /

Marc Sahabo, a shy, kind man, reaches out to greet me. As I shake his hand, I can't help thinking about what that hand was doing in April 1994: wielding a machete and killing 15 people during Rwanda's genocide, which left about a million people dead.

The next hand I shake is that of Felicita Mukabakunda, a woman who was Sahabo's friend and neighbor for years, until ethnic tensions between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority rose to lethal levels. When the killings began, Mukabakunda, a Tutsi, hid in nearby marshes while Sahabo and other Hutus went on their rampage. She overheard them say that they planned to take turns raping her before killing her. She also heard Sahabo say he had killed her father, her uncle, and four other family members.

The killers never found Mukabakunda; she and her husband and children fled to a safe area in Rwanda and briefly lived in a camp for displaced persons. When they returned home after the genocide, Mukabakunda learned that 29 family members—including 16 brothers and sisters—had been murdered.

"I had so much hatred," she told me. "I wanted Marc to die a slow, painful death. I would have killed him if I could." But Sahabo, fearing for his life, had fled to Burundi, then to Tanzania. When Rwanda later negotiated with Tanzania for the return of the perpetrators, Marc was immediately arrested and jailed. He spent seven years in prison before his 2003 release.

Because of prison overcrowding, some 50,000 offenders—those who were minors during the genocide or those who confessed, including Sahabo—have been released. (Some estimate that it would take about 400 years to try all of the cases in the courts. So today, only the worst, most unrepentant killers remain behind bars, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
More Than Deep Feelings
Dallas Willard argues that we really can know Christ.
RecommendedWhere John Piper and Other Evangelicals Stand on Black Lives Matter
Where John Piper and Other Evangelicals Stand on Black Lives Matter
Stats on the racial reconciliation debate spanning from InterVarsity's Urbana conference to Russell Moore's NYT op-ed.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickHow Urban Christians Failed President Obama
How Urban Christians Failed President Obama
The transgender bathroom directive is the latest sign that we shouldn't have given him a pass.
Christianity Today
Reconcilable Differences
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.