French court jails two ex-Rwandan mayors for life over genocide

2016-07-07 05:36
A sketch shows Tito Barahira at the Paris courthouse.  (Benoit Peyrucq, AFP)

A sketch shows Tito Barahira at the Paris courthouse. (Benoit Peyrucq, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - In a landmark ruling, a Paris court jailed for life on Wednesday two former Rwandan mayors accused of orchestrating the massacre of hundreds of Tutsis during the country's 1994 genocide.

The court said Octavien Ngenzi, 58, and his predecessor Tito Barahira, 64, were guilty of "crimes against humanity", "massive and systematic summary executions" and "genocide" in their village of Kabarondo, where about 2 000 people seeking refuge in a church were bludgeoned and hacked to death.

It was the stiffest genocide sentence handed out by a French court to date. In 2014, former army captain Pascal Simbikangwa got 25 years in solitary confinement for genocide and crimes against humanity.

The eight-week trial has heard chilling testimony depicting the two men as "supervisors" and "executioners" in the massacre at the height of the genocide in which 800 000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were killed by Hutu extremists.

"Ngenzi was the leader," said prosecutor Philippe Courroye, who requested life sentences for the two men. Barahira was the "dreaded machete officer".

Ngenzi and Barahira denied the charges.

Their lawyers have pointed to contradictory testimony 22 years after the killings to argue that reasonable doubt exists over the defendants' role, portraying them as having been helpless to stop the chaos unfolding around them.

Read more on:    france  |  rwanda

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.