Kigali, 11 June 2009 (FH) - A Rwandan Senator, Stanley Safari, convicted last week for his involvement in the 1994 genocide, has been  expelled from the Upper House of the Parliament, according to Radio Rwanda Thursday.

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His seat was yet to be replaced.

At the Chamber of Deputies, Beatrice Nirere, also found guilty for having played a role in the genocide committed against mainly ethnic Tutsis, has been replaced by another member of her political family, according to the Rwandan newspaper, The New Times.

During a brief debate Tuesday, the senators voted unanimously for Safari's expulsion.

The politician fled Rwanda few days before his verdict on Saturday before a semi-traditional Gacaca Court, which sentenced him to life in prison for murders committed in 1994 in Butare, southern Rwanda, his native region. The Gacaca courts are not presided by professional judges but by people considered of high esteem in the society.

According to reports, the former legislator was holed up in Kampala, Uganda, in the hope of obtaining visa for Europe.

Last year, at the end of a trial for hoarding and looting of goods during the genocide, the senator was sentenced to a fine of seven Rwandan million francs (nearly 13, 000 American dollars).

A brilliant orator, Safari had fought for the dissolution of his former party, the Republican Democratic Movement (MDR), which he accused of having thought and spread the genocide ideology. After the dissolution of the MDR, he, along with others, founded the Party for Solidarity and Progress (PSP), which belongs to the coalition around the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which is currently in power.

Before entering the Senate, he had been a deputy since 1994.

Mrs Nirere, convicted in February, had only entered the Chamber of Deputies in September.

A former administrative official in the preceding regime, which was removed in 1994, she joined RPF after living in exile in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

She is replaced by Jean Damascene Murara.


© Hirondelle News Agency