Former provincial leader of Rwanda given life sentence by UN genocide tribunal
7 December 2007 – A former Rwandan provincial leader has been sentenced to life in prison by the United Nations tribunal dealing with the country’s 1994 genocide after it convicted him for his role in the killings, including the massacre of hundreds of Tutsis who had sought refuge in a church.
A three-judge panel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which sits in Arusha in neighbouring Tanzania, sentenced François Karera today after finding him guilty of three counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. He was acquitted of complicity to commit genocide, which had been an alternative count to genocide.
The ICTR found that Mr. Karera, who served as the prefect, or chief administrator, of Kigali-Rural Prefecture between April and July 1994, ordered, instigated and encouraged attacks by Hutu militiamen and soldiers against Tutsis in his prefecture.
In mid-April of that year, militiamen and soldiers arrived in Ntarama sector and attacked Tutsis who had sought shelter at a church because of the killings and violence engulfing the country. Mr. Karera was present and encouraged the attackers as they killed hundreds of people at the church.
Later that month and also in May, many Tutsis were also killed – mainly at makeshift roadblocks – at two other communes in Mr. Karera’s prefecture, following orders he gave.
The judges said that in determining the appropriate sentence for Mr. Karera, they “took into account in particular his position of authority and the number of victims who were killed at Ntarama Church.”
About 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered, mainly by machete, in less than 100 days starting in April 1994. The Security Council set up the ICTR later that year to deal with the worst crimes.
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