Handing down the verdict, Pakistan Judge Khalida Khan said Ntawukulilyayo transported soldiers to Kabuye hill, Butare Prefecture (South Rwanda), who later joined other assailants in the killing spree of Tutsi refugees on April 23, 1994. Other members of bench were Kenyan Lee Muthoga and Aydin Akay from Turkey.
"The Chamber, Judge Akay dissenting, has considered the gravity of crime for which Ntawukulilyayo has been convicted as well as aggravating and mitigating circumstances. Considering the relevant circumstances discussed in the judgment, it sentences Ntawukulilyayo to a single sentence of 25 years of imprisonment," Judge Khan said.
According to the judge, Ntawukulilyayo in the accompany of Callixte Kalimanzira, a genocide-convict sentenced to 30 years, arrived at Kabuye hill with soldiers where they stopped shortly, allowing the soldiers to exit and later departed.
She said the soldiers joined others, including communal police in an extensive assault on the civilian refugees even on the following day using firearms and other weapons, resulting into killings and injuries of hundreds and possibly thousands of civilians, mainly Tutsis.
However, the Chamber acquitted Ntawukulilyayo of complicity in genocide, as alternative count and direct and public incitement to commit genocide because of the prosecution's failure to prove them beyond reasonable doubts.
Ugandan Senior Prosecution Counsel Richard Karegyesa said he was happy with the conviction. ‘' I am not in a position to say whether we will appeal or not until we get a written judgment,'' he said.
And the convict's son, Gustave Ntawukulilyayo told Hirondelle News Agency immediately after the verdict that their family was "surprised and shocked" by the decision. "It has been proved that the prosecution's case was cooked. Our father is innocent. We are going to continue fighting," he vowed.
Born in 1942 in Mubuga Commune, Gikongoro Prefecture, Southern Rwanda, Ntawukulilyayo was arrested in France in 2007. He was transferred to the ICTR for trial on June 5, 2008.
© Hirondelle News Agency