Convicted Rwandan genocide planner Bagosora to appeal

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There have been celebrations of justice among factions of Rwandans over the indictment of Theoneste Bagosora and his cohorts, for planning and inciting the 1994 ethnic cleansing of the Tutsis.

The Rwandan government said it was satisfied with the court’s decision to impose a life sentence on Bagosora and while they believe justice has been delivered, the government of Rwanda remain surprised at the acquittal of another co-planner, Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, chief of military operations at the time.

However, many Rwandans have shown their joy of justice by taking to the streets, singing and dancing over the indictment of Bagosora.

The tribunal, which has come to play a key part in the process of justice and reconciliation, has so far convicted 34 people and acquitted six others.

Mr. Bagosora and the two senior military officers were found to have organized, trained and armed the Interahamwe militia, which was responsible for most of the killing.

They were also responsible for drawing up a list of Tutsis and moderate Hutus who opposed their vision of an ethnically pure Rwanda.

According to reports, Mr. Bagosora assumed control of military and political affairs in Rwanda when President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down in 1994 – the catalyst for the genocide.

Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, head of UN peacekeepers in Rwanda at the time, described Mr Bagosora as a known extremist and the kingpin behind the genocide.

Facts drawn up during the trial revealed that Bagosora had began planning the massacre as far back as 1990. The following year, he helped draft a document circulated within the army that described Tutsis as the principal enemy.

Bagosora has been in custody since 1996, when he was arrested in Cameroon where he was in a self-imposed exile.

The International Criminal Tribunal sentences Theoneste Bagosora to life in prison but Bagosora’s lawyer, Raphael Constant, said his client would appeal against the verdict.

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