Arusha, June 24, 2011 (FH) -The Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has welcomed the verdict and sentences imposed against six people, including ex-Minister of Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who was jailed for life for genocide, among other crimes.

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"The office of the prosecutor welcomes the verdict and sentences which brought to the end of the trial at the first instance," the Chief of Prosecution Richard Karegyesa said on Friday in his reaction after delivery of the judgement.

Karegyesa said the delivery of judgement brings to 65 number of accused whose cases have been concluded at the lower level. He pointed out, however, that the case was not entirely over, as they expected appeals processes to start as soon as they receive the written judgement.

He also talked on the complexity of the trial, saying "prosecuting such large case required patience and dedication."

According to him, the prosecution and the six accused presented a total of 189 witnesses and almost 13,000 pages of documents were tendered into evidence, resulting in 913 exhibits. The proceedings have produced more than 125,000 transcript pages.

Prosecutor Holo Makwaia, who led the prosecutions team in the case, could not hide her express. She said, "I am very happy because according to the law even when a woman commits offences like rape could also be convicted and sentences."

She added, "This woman (Nyiramasuhuko) has been convicted for ordering those under whom to commit the offences." According to the judgement, Nyiramasuhuko(65),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. Both Nyiramasuhuko and Ntahobali ordered killings and rapes. Ntahobali further committed rapes while his mother aided and abetted rapes and was, therefore, responsible as a superior for rapes committed by members of Interahamwe.

A Trial 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, South Rwanda, Eli Ndayambaje was also handed down life imprisonment sentence. He was convicted of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, crimes against humanity of extermination and persecution and 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 30 years.

Members of the defence team were not ready to give any comment on the judgement and most of them kept mum when asked to give their observations.


© Hirondelle News Agency