Arusha, 18 December 2008 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Thursday sentenced the alleged master-mind of the 1994 genocide, Col Theoneste Bagosora, to life imprisonment, together with two other of his colleagues.

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Delivering the ruling, presiding judge Erik Mose, said that Bagosora was guilty of 1994 killings and held the highest authority in Rwandan Ministry of Defence with authority over the Rwandan military.

"He [Bagosora] is responsible for the killing on 7 April, of Prime Minister Agathe Uwillingiyimana, Joseph Kavaruganda, the President of the Constitutional Court, as well as Frederic Nzamurambaho, Landoald Ndasingwa and Faustin Rucogoza, who were opposition party officials and government ministers," stated the judge, adding that Bagosora was also found guilty in connection with the killing of ten Belgian peacekeepers who were killed by soldiers at Camp Kigali on 7 April.

"Bagosora was also responsible for the organised killing perpetrated by soldiers and militiamen at a number of sites throughout Kigali and Gisenyi between 6 and 9 April,' he added.

The Chamber also jailed for life Major Aloys Ntabakuze, commander of the para commando battalion and Col Anatole Nseniyumva, commander of the operational sector of Gisenyi, northern Rwanda but acquitted General Gratian Kabiligi, former head of the military operations bureau.

Ntabakuze was found guilty for the participation of soldiers in killings at Kabeza, Nyanza Hill and the L'institu Africain et Mauricien de Statistiques et d"Economic (IAMSEA) in Kigali.

Nsengiyumva was considered responsible for massacres at Mudende University, Nyundo Parisha as well as the targeted killings of civilians in Gisenyi, the area under his command. He was also found guilty of sending militiamen to the Bisesero area of Kibuye prefecture to kill Tutsi refugees in June 1994.

The Chamber also ruled that there was no joint conspiracy to commit genocide.

During the closing argument on May 28, 2007, the prosecutor of the ICTR, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, requested life imprisonment for each defendant.

Bagosora and Nsengiyumva were arrested in Cameroun in March 1996 and were transferred to the ICTR on January 23, 1997. They were joined on July 18, 1997 by Kabiligi and Ntabakuze who had just been arrested the same day in Kenya.

Several times obligated to reduce his list of witnesses, the prosecutor rested his case on October 14, 2004 after having called 82 witnesses to the stand. The defence opened its case on April 11, 2005 and rested it in January 2007, after calling in 160 defence witnesses. The proceedings were spread out over 408 days of hearings during which 1, 554 elements of evidences were filed.


© Hirondelle News Agency