20 December 2012

Rwanda: Former Rwandan Planning Minister Jailed 35 Years for Genocide

Photo: http://www.irinnews.org
Skulls of genocide victims at a memorial (file photo).

Arusha — The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday sentenced former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware to 35 years in jail for his role in the 1994 genocide.

This is the Tribunal's last judgment, apart from appeals.

Ngirabatware was Planning Minister in the interim government that was in place during the genocide. He is also the son-in-law of the ICTR's most wanted fugitive, Félicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of the genocide.

"Augustin Ngirabatware, the Chamber finds you guilty of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and rape as a crime against humanity," declared presiding judge William Hussein Sekule, addressing the former minister. "For these crimes, the Chamber sentences you to 35 years in prison."

Ngirabatware was convicted for inciting, aiding and encouraging militia in his native commune Nyamyumba (Gisenyi prefecture, northern Rwanda) to kill their Tutsi neighbours in 1994.

According to the judgment, he distributed arms to the militiamen, saying he didn't want to see any more Tutsis in his commune.

The judges also found that militiamen raped Tutsi women as part of a joint criminal enterprise, of which Ngirabatware was part.

The court dismissed most of the defence argument of alibi. Ngirabatware claimed he never set foot in Nyamyumba during the genocide.

Ngirabatware has a doctorate in economics from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He was formerly a professor at the National University of Rwanda (1986-1994), before becoming Planning Minister (1990-1994). He went into exile after July 1994, working in different research institutes in France and Gabon. He was arrested in Germany on September 17, 2007, and transferred to the ICTR in October, 2008. His trial started on September 22, 2009.

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