Arusha, 14 July, 2009 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday handed down a life imprisonment on the former Rwandan Governor of Kigali, Tharcisse Renzaho, 65, for inciting and participating in the killings of ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 genocide.

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The three-bench presiding Norwegian Judge, Erik Mose, concluded that the accused was guilty of crimes committed in Rwanda.

In an approximately half-an-hour judgement before a packed gallery, Judge Mose, for example said that the accused played a crucial role in the annihilation of more than 100 ethnic Tutsis who had sought refuge at the Sainte Famille Church.

"It is undisputed that, on 17th June, shortly after the Rwandan Patriotic Front had evacuated some Tutsi refugees from the Saint Paul Pastoral Centre, the interahamwe attacked and killed refugees at the Saint Famille Church," he said, adding that evidence demonstrated that Renzaho played an important part in connection with the commencement and cessation of the operation which led to over 100 Tutsis refugees were killed.

"He [Renzaho] was involved in the removal of the bodies," stated the Judge. The Judge also pointed to the roadblocks which were erected with sole purpose of identifying the Tutsis and to be killed.

"Around 10 April, he convened a meeting that included local officials, such as mayors and councilors and explained that the Inkontanyi or inyenzi had shot down the President's plane. He instructed those present to erect roadblocks for the purposes of fighting the enemy, referred to Tutsis as accomplices," he said, noting that at this time Renzaho was aware that Tutsi civilians were being targeted and killed based on their ethnicity.

"Their actions contributed to the slaughter of those identified as Tutsis. Renzaho reiterated his support for these roadblocks," he underlined.

The Chamber also stated that the accused incited sexual violence by encouraging rapes of girls and young Tutsi women. "The Chamber finds that Renzaho was aware of rapes taking place in his prefecture...he made remarks encouraging the sexual abuse of women," the judge ruled, as the bemused accused, clad in a smart blue suit, heard the judgement from the docket.

The defence said it will appeal against the ruling." We're going to appeal...my client is a Christian he did not think rape can take place in his own town,"  said Francois Cantier, lead counsel of the accused, adding that they would also challenge other counts in which the accused was convicted.

This is the third judgement delivered for this year.

The ICTR has so far convicted 40 persons and acquitted six. Trials are underway in eleven cases, involving 24 accused persons.


© Hirondelle News Agency