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Rwandan Official 25Year Sentence For 1994 Genocide

UN Tribunal Gives Former Rwandan Senior Official 25-Year Sentence For 1994 Genocide

The United Nations tribunal on the 1994 Rwandan genocide today sentenced retired lieutenant colonel and former member of parliament Aloys Simba to 25 years in prison after finding him guilty on two counts concerning genocide and crimes against humanity.

The International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) said this was the first case it had decided which specifically concerned the massacres of Tutsi civilians in Gikongoro prefecture and the sentence was based on his participation in the massacres at the Murambi Technical School and in Kaduha Parish.

Mr. Simba, who was arrested in Senegal in November 2001, distributed weapons at the school and in Kaduha, according to the court.

Militiamen, backed by gendarmes, on 21 April 1994 killed thousands of Tutsi civilians at the school, in nearby Cyanika Parish and in Kaduha Parish, in what the Chamber described as “a highly coordinated operation” involving the support of local authorities and prominent people.

The ICTR noted that this operation went on for about 12 hours on a single day.

Mr. Simba was a member of the “Comrades of the Fifth of July,” who participated in the coup d’état that brought former President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, to power in 1973. Mr. Habyarimana died in the crash of a Falcon aircraft on 6 April 1994 in Rwanda, along with his Burundian counterpart Cyprian Ntayamira.

The deaths set off a chain of killings throughout Rwanda, with more than 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus, killed in the genocide.

The Court said, however, that it was not convinced that Mr. Simba was one of the architects of the genocide and added that his actions did not show any particular zeal or sadism. In particular, he did not personally kill anyone and only remained at the sites for a brief period. He will receive credit for the 4 years and 16 days he has been in detention since his arrest.

The Tribunal has handed down judgements in cases involving 26 people, and 26 other defendants are presently on trial.

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