Arusha, November 1, 2010 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Monday sentenced former Rwandan businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga to 30 years imprisonment for genocide and extermination, as a crime against humanity.

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‘'The Chamber sentences Gaspard Kanyarukiga to a single sentence of 30 years imprisonment,'' declared Jordanian presiding Judge Taghrid Hikmet, flanked with two other members of the bench.

She said the Chamber was satisfied that Kanyarukiga (65) with others planned the demolition of Nyange Church in Kivumu commune, Kibuye prefecture (western Rwanda) on April 16, 1994, knowing that about 2.000 Tutsis had taken refuge in it following wide spread massacres.

Judge Hikmet explained that by Kanyarukiga's involvement in the planning, the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt that he acted with ‘'genocidal intent'' and, hence, convicted him of genocide.

‘'Having found that Kanyarukiga intentionally participated in the planning of the demolition of the Church which resulted in thousands of Tutsis deaths (...) the accused intentionally participated in a mass killing of Tutsis, amounting to extermination as a crime against humanity,'' she elaborated.

However, the Chamber dismissed count two of the indictment under which Kanyarukiga was charged with complicity in genocide, as an alternative count.

Kanyarukiga himself stood expressionless when judge Hikmet handed down the sentence before a packed public gallery. He is not the only Rwandan linked with the massacre at the Nyange church.

Others are parish priest Athanase Seromba, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment, Grégoire Ndahimana, former mayor of the commune currently facing genocide charges and ex-judicial police inspector Fulgence Kayishema, who is in the wanted list to be indicted at ICTR.

Kanyarukiga was not an educated, but was influential businessman in Rwanda and money is what made him known in the society. Apart from his native commune, the convict had also business in Kigali where he had a second wife.

Kanyarukiga's trial took off on August 31, 2008. He was arrested in South Africa on July 16, 2004 and transferred to Arusha three days later.         


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