Arusha, 19 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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The UN Court also sentenced to 20 years in prison 70-year-old Protais Zigiranyirazo, brother-in-law of former Rwandan President, in another separate judgement. However, Zigiranyirazo will benefit from a credit of seven years that he has already spent in detention, ordered the presiding Argentinian Judge, Ines Monica Weinberg de Roca.

Delivering the ruling in the so called" Military 1 Trial", 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 was also 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. 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.

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.

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

Meanwhile, ICTR Tuesday rejected the fifth application of the Prosecutor to transfer genocide cases for trial to Rwanda. In their decision, the three-bench judges led by Justice Ines Weinberg de Roca denied the prosecutor's request for referral to Rwanda in the case Fulgence Kayishema, former police inspector, still on the run.

The judges singled out two major reasons as driving force towards the decision which included risk to get solitary confinement if the accused is convicted to life imprisonment and that the defendant may lack trial right to obtain the attendance and or examine defence witnesses under the same conditions as witnesses called by the prosecution.

Other applications already rejected on almost similar grounds were former businessmen- Gaspard Kanyarukiga and Yusuf Munyakazi, Lieutenant Ildenphonse Hategekimana and former mayor, Jean-Baptiste Gatete.


© Hirondelle News Agency