4 June 2012

Rwanda: ICTR Hands Life Sentence to Callixte Nzabonimana

The Arusha -Based The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has handed a life sentence to former Rwandan minister of Youth and Cooperative Movements, Callixte Nzabonimana, for his role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi claimed over 800.000 people in a range of only three months. Nzabonimana was found guilty of playing a major role in the killings which took place in various areas of former Gitarama province- which is also in his home of birth.

The ICTR trial chamber presided by Ugandan Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa charged the suspect of conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination, as a crime against humanity.

Nzabonimana was convicted of instigating the killing of Tutsi civilians who had sought refuge at the Nyabikenke commune office, and responsible of directly and publicly inciting the killing of Tutsi at Butare trading centre, at Cyayi centre and Murambi, in April 1994.

Court also said that the convict entered into an agreement to kill Tutsi with members of the Interim Government on April 18, 1994, and entered into another agreement with Jean Damascene Ukurikiyeyezu to kill Tutsi in May 1994.

Like many others, Nzabonimana, born in 1953, was among the elite of Rwanda at the time- who played a significant role in the genocide architectural plans. He is geologist by profession, holding a PhD from France. He arrested on February 18, 2008 in Tanzania, and the trial commenced on November 9, 2009.

His trial closed on September 12, 2011, and the Trial Chamber heard closing arguments from October 20 -21 last year, which involved 20 witnesses from the prosecution and 40 from the defense.

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