Arusha, June 24, 2011 (FH) - The only woman ever being indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for genocide and crimes against humanity,  her son and former mayor, Friday were sentenced to life imprisonment after having been found guilt for their participation in the 1994 genocide.

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Pauline Nyiramasuhuko (65), former Rwandan Minister for Family and Women Affairs and her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali were found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity of extermination, rape and persecution and war crimes. Nyiramasuhuko was in addition convicted for conspiracy to commit genocide.

‘'For these crimes and considering all relevant circumstances, the Chamber sentences you Pauline Nyiramasuhuko to life imprisonment,'' declared Tanzanian Presiding Judge, William Sekule as Nyiramasuhuko herself was on her feet listening to the verdict.

Standing between the two  UN security officers, Nyiramasuhuko puts on a gloomy face as the sentence was being announced before a packed court room.

‘'Both Nyiramasuhuko and Ntahobali ordered killings. They also ordered rapes. Ntahobali further commited rapes, and Nyiramasuhuko aided and abetted rapes and is responsible as a superior for rapes committed by members of Interahamwe,'' the verdict  elaborated as it was being red.

The Chamber found that between April and Mid June, 1994, Nyiramasuhuko and Ntahobali ordered  Interahamwe and soldiers to go to Butare prefecture offices to physically assault, rape and take away hundreds of Tutsis to various places in Butare to be killed.

Alongside the two, former mayor of Muganza commune in Butare prefecture, Eli Ndayambaje was also handed down life imprisonment sentence.

Ndayambaje was convicted of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, crimes against humanity of extermination and persecution and violence to life in  as war crime.

The other three convicts in this trial known as ‘'Butare Trial'' are two former prefects of Butare, Alphonse Nteziryayo sentenced to 30 years whereas Sylvain Nsabimana got 25 years jail term. Another former Mayor, Joseph Kanyabashi of Ngoma commune would remain behind bars for 35 years.

The judgment comes 10 years after the commencement of the trial on June 12, 2001, 16 years after the arrests of some of the accused and more than two years after the case was officially closed.

Convicts were given credit for the time already spent in detention since their arrests.

Kanyabashi and Ndayambaje were arrested on June 28, 1995 in Belgium while Nyiramasuhuko and Nsabimana were arrested on July 18, 1997 in Nairobi. Ntahobali was arrested six days later in the same East African country. Nteziryayo was apprehended on April 24, 1998, in Bukina Faso.


© Hirondelle News Agency