A UN backed tribunal in the city of Arusha, Tanzania, has sentenced former Rwandan army colonel, Theoneste Bagosora, along with former army commanders Alloys Ntabakuze and Anatole Nsegiyumva to life in prison after they were convicted of perpetrating the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which caused the death of over 800,000 people in a space of three and a half months.
In another verdict, Protais Zigiranyirazo, brother-in-law of the defunct President Juvénal Habyarimana, was also been sentenced to a 20 year jail term for genocide and war crimes. He is believed to have funded the crimes. A sentence the Rwandan government deems insufficient considering the genocide charge.
Bagasora who was defense minister’s cabinet director is said to have ordered the killings of Tutsis and moderate Hutus soon after the plane carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, was shot down as it neared the airport in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, in April 7, 1994.
Bagasora who was arrested in 1996 in Cameroon and has been held in Tanzania had pleaded not guilty to the crimes claiming that his arrest was instrumented by the Tutsi dominated government.
After the100 day massacre which devastated the region, some of the Hutu militias who perpetrated the crimes moved into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This has led to recent tensions and rebel activities in the country.
Tutsis, led by General Nkunda, have held on to their arms claiming that they are protecting themselves from attacks by the Hutu militias who fled to the country.
Several people have died in the unrest while some three hundred thousand people are believed to have been displaced in DRC.