Former senior Rwandan politician sentenced to life in jail by UN genocide tribunal

ICTR staff outside Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania

14 July 2009 – A former governor of the Rwandan capital will spend the rest of his life in prison after the United Nations tribunal set up in the wake of the 1994 genocide today convicted him of his role in the mass killings that engulfed the country.

A three-judge panel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) found Tharcisse Renzaho, the former prefect of Kigali-Ville, guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was acquitted of the charge of complicity to commit genocide.

The ICTR found that Mr. Renzaho ordered the establishment of roadblocks and then supported the killings of Tutsis at those roadblocks. He also supervised a selection process at a refugee site where about 40 Tutsis were abducted and killed.

Mr. Renzaho – who also served as a colonel in the Rwandan military at the time – participated in a particularly notorious attack at the Sainte Famille church in central Kigali, where more than 100 Tutsis were slaughtered and numerous women were raped. He made remarks encouraging the sexual abuse and was found to be criminally liable for the rape that followed.

The Security Council set up the ICTR, which is based in Arusha, Tanzania, in 1994 following the genocide, during which an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed, often by machete, in little more than three months.

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