Ministers sentenced to 30 years over Rwandan genocide

2011-09-30 14:28

Two former Rwandan ministers were sentenced today by a United Nations tribunal to 30 years in jail after being convicted of complicity in the country’s genocide.

Former public service minister Prosper Mugiraneza and former trade minister Justin Mugenzi were convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of “direct and public incitement to commit genocide”.

Two other ministers, Casimir Bizimungu and Jerome-Clement Bicamumpaka, were acquitted and the Tanzania-based tribunal ordered their immediate release.

The four men all served in the interim government that took over after president Juvenal Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down.

That event in early April 1994 triggered the genocide, in which over 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by radical Hutu militias over the following 100 days.

The trial began on November 6, 2003, and over the course of 399 trial days a total of 171 witnesses testified, the tribunal said in a statement.

Prosecutors had argued during the trial that the inflammatory language used by the former ministers had helped set of massacres, charging that after they held public speeches and rallies, bloodshed followed almost immediately.

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