Rwanda welcomes life sentence for Jean-Baptiste Gatete

2011-03-31 12:35

Kigali – Rwanda’s justice minister today welcomed a life sentence handed to a former senior government official for involvement in mass killings during the 1994 genocide.

The UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda sentenced former top-ranking family ministry official Jean-Baptiste Gatete to life on Tuesday.

“He got a deserved sentence. Gatete is the symbol of death and destruction in this country. In eastern Rwanda he is known as the Butcher of Murambi,” said Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama.

“He’s a beast and he should be kept away from people,” the minister said.

Gatete was in 1994 working in the family ministry, having earlier served as mayor of Murambi in the east of the country.

The tribunal concluded he had retained influence in Murambi and was responsible for the deaths of “hundreds and possibly thousands” of minority Tutsis there, including by having them buried alive in mass graves.

The genocide led by ethnic majority Hutus claimed 800 000 lives.

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