Arusha, April 26, 2010 (FH)-Genocide-convict Jean Bosco Barayagwiza (60), a founding leader of the hate Rwandan radio station Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) during the 1994 genocide, died Sunday in the West African city of Porto Novo, Benin, where he was serving his 32 years term.

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‘'He died after a long illness. Post-mortem which is to be conducted in due course by the Benin Medical Authorities shall establish the exact cause of death,'' Roland Amoussouga, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) spokesman told Hirondelle Agency Monday.

The deceased died at the Centre Hospitalier Departemental de l'Oueme where he was admitted on March 5, 2010.

Amoussouga said the Tribunal was not aware of funeral details though the Benin government was in contact with the deceased's family. ‘'The decision regarding the place of burial belongs to the family. In the event that the family is not able to take the body for burial or cremation purposes, then the enforcing state (in this instant case, the government of Benin) will do the needful in consultation with the family,'' he added.

The UN through ICTR, he said, shall bear the costs related to the preparation and transfer of the deceased's body to the family, or for the burial in the enforcing state.

The deceased was charged by the UN Court on October 23, 2000 along with historian Ferdinand Nahimana and Hassan Ngeze, Editor of the Hutu-extremist Kangura newspaper, in the case dubbed as the ‘' Media Trial''.

Barayagwiza refused to partake in the trial, claiming that the judges were not impartial and considered himself as a ‘'political prisoner''.

After his conviction on December 3, 2003 to 35 years imprisonment (he was sentenced to 27 years, given his time already spent in captivity), he appealed against the sentence.

On  28  November  2007,  the  ICTR  Appeals  Chamber reaffirmed the guilt of Barayagwiza  for  acts  of genocide and crimes against humanity. Barayagwiza was thereafter sentenced to a reduced prison term of 32 years, which he was serving in Akpro Misserete Prison since June 27, 2009 until he met his death.

Barayagwiza was born in 1950 in Mutura commune, Gisenyi prefecture, Rwanda.  A lawyer by training, he was a founding member of the Coalition for Defense of the Republic (CDR) party which was formed in 1992. He also held the position of Director of Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rwanda

The deceased is survived by four children, all girls currently living in Europe.

Barayagwiza is the second genocide-convict to pass-away. Former Seventh-Day Adventist Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. On December 6, 2006, after serving his detention, he was released and he died a month later, aged 83.

Two other genocide suspects-- Anglican bishop Samuel Musabyimana died in January 2003 when he was awaiting scheduling of his trial and Joseph Serugendo, a founding leader of Rwanda's notorious Interahamwe militia passed away in August 2006, just two months after agreeing to a plea deal with ICTR prosecutors and was sentenced to six years jail-term.


© Hirondelle News Agency