A UN war crimes tribunal sentenced a former governor in Rwanda to life in prison today after finding that he was one of the main perpetrators of genocide in the African country in 1994.
Lt Col Tharcisse Renzaho, 65, was governor of the Rwandan capital, Kigali, during the genocide, giving him authority over the police force.
The court said he incited the killings and urged soldiers and Hutu militia and civilians to construct roadblocks where they could intercept and kill fleeing Tutsis.
Presiding Judge Erik Mose said Renzaho was implicated in the killings of more than 100 Tutsis at Holy Family church during the height of the genocide because he was at the site before the attack and shortly before it ended, but failed to stop the killings.
“He was also involved in the removal of bodies,” the judge said.
Renzaho’s lawyer, Francois Cantier, says his client will appeal the convictions of five counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.
More than half a million members of the Tutsi ethnic minority and moderates from the Hutu majority were slaughtered during the 100-day Rwandan genocide in 1994.
Rwanda’s genocide began hours after a plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down as it approached Kigali on the evening of April 6, 1994. The slaughter ended after rebels, led by current President Paul Kagame, ousted the extremist Hutu government that had orchestrated the killings.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which sits in Tanzania, has delivered judgments on 39 people.
Six of the judgments were acquittals.