Rwanda politicians jailed for life over genocide

DAR ES SALAAM, (Reuters) – The U.N. war crimes  tribunal for Rwanda yesterday found two bosses of the former  ruling Hutu-led party guilty of genocide for their leading roles  in the 1994 massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus, and sentenced  them to life in prison.

Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera who were president  and vice-president of the ruling MRND party at the time of the  genocide, had pleaded not guilty to the charges laid by the  International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

“The chamber unanimously condemns Ngirumpatse to life in  jail,” said presiding Judge Dennis Byron, before pronouncing the  same sentence for Karemera.

The indictment had said the pair had a “superior  responsibility” within the MRND, whose youth wing, the  Interahamwe, carried out most of the atrocities.

The Tanzanian-based court said Ngirumpatse, 72, and  Karemera, 60, were members of a joint criminal enterprise to  destroy the Tutsi population.

During the genocide, some 800,000 minority Tutsis and  moderate Hutus were butchered in 100 days of systematic  killings.

“They also bear extended liability for the widespread rapes  and sexual assaults of Tutsi women and girls, which were a  foreseeable consequence of the joint criminal enterprise,” the  court said in a statement.

Last month, the U.N. court found former mayor Gregoire  Ndahimana guilty of genocide for planning the slaughter of more  than 2,000 Tutsi refugees in 1994, and sentenced him to 15 years  in prison.

The court in late September acquitted two former ministers  of key roles in the genocide, a verdict Rwanda’s chief  prosecutor described as “shocking”, but convicted two other  former cabinet ministers.

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