Arusha, 18 December 2008 (FH)--Mr Protais Zigiranyirazo, a brother-in-law of the former President Juvénal Habyarimana, will serve 20 years in jail for his role in the 1994 genocide.

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Handing down the sentence, Thursday the presiding judge Ines Monica Weinberg de Roca said that the accused was part of convoy of assailants who killed approximately 800 to 1,500 ethnic Tutsi at Kesho Hill.

"The Chamber has found that the Prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused arrived at Kesho Hill, as part of a convoy of assailants, on the morning of 8 April 1994 and delivered a speech to the assailants who subsequently attacked up to 2000 Tutsi refugees gathered on the Hill, killing between 800 and 1,500 Tutsi,'' said the judge

The Chamber handed 20 years jail in relation to conviction of genocide at kesho Hills; 15 years imprisonment for genocide in relation to Kiyovu road block and 20 years imprisonment in relation to the conviction for extermination at Kesho Hill.

"These sentences will be served concurrently," she ruled, adding that the accused would get credit of seven years already spent in detention.

Arrested in Belgium in July 2001, Zigiranyirazo, 70, had been on trial since 3 October 2005. He had pleaded not guilty.

He had called a total of 41 witnesses compared to 24 for the prosecution.

The prosecution claimed that Mr Zigiranyirazo was an influential member of Akazu (small house in Kinyarwanda), a circle composed of close relations of the former president. The defence pleaded that the concept of Akazu was an invention by opponents with the aim of discrediting the Habyarimana regime.

Zigiranyirazo was a Governor in Kibuye, western Rwanda and Ruhengeri, northern Rwanda, between 1974 and 1989. He then became a businessman. The prosecution alleges that although he was not a formal part of the central administration for several years, Zigiranyirazo exerted an influence on senior officials and army officers until 1994 because of his bonds with the presidential family. Witnesses on the workings of the Rwandan administration came to say that it was ridiculous.


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