After years in prison, most killers realised life could never be the same for them. “My children have scattered far and wide without sending me comforting words,” said Ignace, a farmer. “I no longer own even one basic tool.” I think I will manage for food, but comfort and respect… I can tell already that these are gone for good.”
Like many prisoners, he was understandably very nervous about meeting the relatives of people he had killed. “Sometimes I feel terrified by the look in the eyes of the survivors who wait for me."
Out of fear or genuine remorse - or a combination of both - killers sometimes sent messages of apology to the families of the victims, hoping it would make the return home a little easier.
“I denounced myself and I spoke of my guilt to the families of people I killed,” said Elie. “When I get out, I will take gifts, food and drink; I will offer enough Primus beer and brochettes [skewers of meat] for proper reconciliation gatherings.”
Elie said that, in prison, most people were sorry, but not always for the right reasons. Some of the killers were just sorry for themselves, for the terrible life in prison and for all the things they’d lost. Their main regret was that they didn’t finish the job: “They accuse themselves of negligence rather and wickedness… Repentance may wear many faces. But it’s worthless if it is not the right kind.”