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Rwanda: Ex-Finance Minister Gets Life For Genocide

Rwanda: UN Tribunal Gives Ex-Finance Minister Life Sentence For Role In Genocide

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda today sentenced a former government finance minister to life in jail for his role in the genocide that engulfed the country in 1994.

Three judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), sitting in Arusha, Tanzania, found Emmanuel Ndindabahizi guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, specifically extermination and murder.

The case against Mr. Ndindabahizi - who served as Finance Minister in Rwanda's Interim Government from April to June 1994 - focused on events in Kibuye Prefecture, the region where he grew up and later rose through the political ranks.

In June of that year, Mr. Ndindabahizi urged bands of Hutus to attack and kill thousands of Tutsis who had taken refuge in the Gitwa Hill area. He also distributed weapons and helped transport the killers.

Explaining that Mr. Ndindabahizi instigated, facilitated and assisted the attacks, the ICTR said he "was well aware that his remarks and actions were part of a wider context of ethnic violence, killing and massacres in Rwanda during this period."

Mr. Ndindabahizi, who had pleaded not guilty to the charges, was arrested in Belgium in 2001 and transferred to the UN detention centre in Arusha later that year.

Estimates vary but at least 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus are thought to have been murdered in Rwanda during a 100-day orgy of killings starting in early April 1994.

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