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Former Mayor Gets Life Imprisonment For Role In Rwanda Genocide



A court in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali has sentenced a former mayor to life imprisonment for his role in the country’s genocide which led to the deaths of 800,000 on a 100-day rampage.

Ladislas Ntaganzwa, the local mayor of Nyakizu in southern Rwanda was one of the most wanted culprits in the genocide which targeted the ethnic minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the east African country.

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The former powerful politician was arrested in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015 after more than two decades on the run.

A year later he was extradited to his home country where he has been on trial for committing genocide against the Tutsis. This brought closure to international efforts to arrest him.

The American government even placed a $5-million bounty on his head. The United Nations accused him of organising “the massacre of thousands of Tutsis at various locations and sexual violence against women”.

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A statement released by the prosecutor said the court “convicted him for genocide, extermination as crime against humanity and rape as crime against humanity and sentenced him to life imprisonment.”

The statement also added that the convict was however found not guilty of murder as crime against humanity and direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

The court found the former mayor of personally leading a series of massacres of Tutsi civilians, including an attack on a church where thousands had taken shelter from their blood-thirsty assailants.

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Alexis Musonera, lawyer to the convict has stated his client’s decision to appeal against the guilty verdict. He has always maintained his innocence since the trial started some five years ago.

Ethnic tensions of several decades between Hutus who formed more than 80% of Rwanda and the Tutsis ended in a bloody outcome when the then-president, Juvenal Habyarimana was assassinated.

The Hutus blamed his death on Tutsi rebels and launched a genocide against that ethnic group. The killings ended when the Tutsi rebels led by current president, Paul Kagame seized the capital and over8threw the government.

Since then, the government has made several gains in apprehending the perpetrators of the crimes in the country. Early this month, one of the financiers of the Hutu militias was arrested in the French capital, Paris.

Felicien Kabuga was subsequently put before a court where he has been refused bail. He is fighting extradition to the Netherlands. The 87 year old former wealthy businessman has denied the charges.

Ladislas Ntaganzwa was a powerful mayor during the Rwandan genocide