UN tribunal upholds life sentence for senior Rwandan politician convicted of genocide

ICTR staff outside Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania

1 April 2011 – The United Nations tribunal set up in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide ruled today that a former senior official in the country’s capital will still spend the rest of his life in prison despite reversing some of its earlier convictions against him.

Appeal judges serving on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, affirmed the life sentence against Tharcisse Renzaho, citing the gravity of the other offences for which he was convicted.

Mr. Renzaho, who served as governor of Kigali-Ville prefecture and as a colonel in the Rwandan army at the time of genocide, was convicted of a series of offences by the ICTR in 2009. He 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.

The judges reversed Mr. Renzaho’s convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions in relation to the rapes of three individuals.

The conviction for genocide for ordering the killing of Tutsi civilians at roadblocks in Kigali was also overturned.

But the judges affirmed multiple other convictions for Mr. Renzaho, including genocide and murder as a crime against humanity for a series of killings between April and June 1994.

The Security Council set up the tribunal in the wake of 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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Former senior Rwandan politician sentenced to life in jail by UN genocide tribunal

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