Rwandan Politician Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Genocide

Léon Mugesera

Léon Mugesera

Last Friday, Léon Mugesera has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Rwanda for inciting his countrymen to commit genocide.

Mugesera was accused of having delivered a fiery speech in Rwanda in 1992 in which he suggested that members of the Tutsi ethnic group should be exterminated. His speech is considered to have been a trigger for the massacre of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.

Some excerpts from the speech were played repeatedly on Rwandan radio stations, including Radio Mille Collines.

Mugesera was a political adviser to the party of then president Juvenal Habyarimana. He fled Rwanda in 1992 settling with his family in Canada as a refugee and working as a lecturer in linguistics at Laval University.

In 1995, the Canadian government initiated extradition proceedings to send him back to Rwanda, where he was wanted for genocide. Mugesera was extradited in January 2012. His trial began in November 2013 in Kigali.

According to his lawyer, the Canadian government made “a big mistake” in not being more wary of the Rwandan government led by Paul Kagame, claiming that Mugesera did not get a fair trial and was doomed from the start.

“His speech was a very harsh one but it was not an incitement to murder or genocide or hatred,” his lawyer said. He added that Mugesera is a “great democrat” who could have become president of Rwanda.

Rwanda Genocide: Arrest of Ladislas Ntaganzwa

Ladisla NtaganzwaOne of the last suspects wanted for alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, has been arrested in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ladislas Ntaganzwa, 53, is accused of organising mass rapes and the massacre of thousands.

He was one of nine suspects still wanted by the United Nations for their alleged role in the genocide, which left about 800,000 people dead. The others are still at large.

The genocide saw militias from the majority Hutu ethnic group killing Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The indictment of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) describes his involvement in 1994 in the killing of more than 20,000 Tutsis between 14 and 18 April.

It says he “substantially participated in the planning, preparation and execution of the massacre”.

He told a group including Hutu civilians to surround Cyahinda parish, in southern Rwanda, “so that no Tutsis could escape and told them to kill Tutsis”, the indictment adds.

The ICTR has transferred his case to Rwanda.

Rwanda’s Intelligence Chief Arrested under European Arrest Warrant

General Karake ©Getty Images

General Karake ©Getty Images

General Karenzi Karake, director general of Rwanda’s National Intelligence and Security Services, was arrested on Saturday, 20 June at Heathrow Airport on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant. The warrant, issued by Spain in 2008, indicts Gen. Krake, along with 39 other current or former high-ranking Rwandan military officials for alleged war crimes committed during the 1994 genocide. At the time, Gen. Karake, who is also a member of Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), was the head of military intelligence.

Rwandan officials reacted after the arrest, Foreign Minister Mushikiwabo calling it “an outrage” and Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK “an  insult”. The warrant issued by Spain has been criticized as highly politicised by Rwandan and US diplomats. It questions the responsibility in the killings of the RPF, the Tutsi-led rebel movement that put an end to the killings and seized control of Rwanda in 1994.

General Karake remains on remand ahead of a court hearing on Thursday. He is also accused of ordering the killing of three Spanish nationals working for Medicos del Mundo.

Charles Taylor’s Request for Transfer to Rwanda Denied

Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor

The Trial Chamber of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone has denied former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s request to serve the remainder of his 50-year sentence in a prison in Rwanda.

On the 25th of March, the Public Information Section of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone issued a press release with the decision. Although the Trial Chamber had already arrived at its decision on 30 January 2015, it had waited with the public release of its decision as a related motion had still been pending.

Since his conviction was confirmed by the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (RSCSL) in September 2013, Mr Taylor has been incarcerated at Frankland Prison in Durham in the United Kingdom. However, all other persons convicted by the SCSL are serving their sentences at Mpanga Prison in Rwanda, and Mr Taylor is the only prisoner convicted by an international court forced to serve his sentence on another continent. Continue reading

ICTR Appeals Chamber Delivers Judgements in Three Cases

ICTR

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today delivered its judgement in three cases: Édouard Karemera and Matthieu Ngirumpatse; Ildéphonse Nizeyimana; and Callixte Nzabonimana.

Édouard Karemera and Matthieu Ngirumpatse

On 21 December 2011, Trial Chamber III convicted Karemera and Ngirumpatse of direct and public incitement to commit genocide, genocide, extermination and rape as crimes against humanity, and murder as a serious violation of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II. The Trial Chamber sentenced Karemera and Ngirumpatse to life imprisonment.

The Appeals Chamber affirmed Karemera’s and Ngirumpatse’s convictions.The Appeals Chamber reversed certain findings of the Trial Chamber, which, however, did not result in the overturning of any of Karemera’s or Ngirumpatse’s convictions. The Appeals Chamber affirmed Karemera’s and Ngirumpatse’s sentences of life imprisonment. Continue reading