Arusha, November 09, 2009 (FH) - Kigali businessman Laurent Magambo was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison having been found guilty of rape during the 1994 genocide.

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According to the judgment delivered by the Gacaca court of Nyakabanda (town of Kigali), he raped a young Tutsi woman who was eight months pregnant. He then handed her over to militiamen who also raped her.

The defendant pleaded not guilty.

The victim is now suffering from AIDS and could not attend the trial. The court went to receive her testimony in the hospital where she is being treated.

Before another Gacaca court in Kigali, a medical doctor working for the International Red Cross (ICRC) in 1994 was sentenced on Wednesday to fifteen years in jail during his rehearing trial.  Marcel Gakire was found guilty of "complicity to commit genocide, installation and supervision of roadblocks, complicity in murders".

Gakire had been condemned to life imprisonment on first hearing and to fourteen years on appeal. He has been in jail for ten years.

The Gacaca courts, adapted from a form of Rwandan traditional justice, are tasked with trying suspected perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide which left some 800,000  people dead, according to the UN.   These village courts, whose judges are elected from the community, can hand down sentences up to life imprisonment, which is now the maximum penalty in Rwanda. They have so far tried more than a million people.


© Hirondelle News Agency