Former Rwandan Minister Augustin Ngirabatware was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in prison after being found guilty by a U.N. tribunal of genocide, incitement to genocide and rape as a crime against humanity.
Ngirabatware was Rwanada’s planning minister during the 1994 genocide which killed over 800,000 Rwandans and displaced thousands more. During the genocides, those from the Hutu tribe slaughtered Tutsis.
Ngirabatware, 55, was found guilty for his role in publicly inciting the killing of Tutsis at a roadblock in February 1994 and trafficking weapons which were being used to kill Tutsis.
He was convicted of “participating in a joint criminal enterprise … whose members shared the common purpose of destroying, in whole or in part, the Tutsi ethnic group, and exterminating the Tutsi civilian population in Nyamyumba commune.”
In addition, Ngirabatware was also convicted of raping Tutsi women.
Ngirabatware was nabbed in Germany in 2007, and sent to the U.N. tribunal for trial in 2009.
“The delivery of judgment today in this case marks a historic occasion and important milestone in the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda,” said chief prosecutor Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow.
Thus far, 83 people have been arrested for Rwandan war crimes, 75 have been prosecuted, and there have been 65 convictions.
“It has taken considerable effort, dedication and diligence by several parties for this outcome, amongst them the governments and law enforcement authorities of some 21 countries,” Jallow said.
Jallow also praised witnesses in the case.
“We hope that the ICTR has through the execution of its mandate made a difference: a difference in ensuring accountability for those who played a leading role in the tragedy of 1994 in Rwanda; in contributing to justice, reconciliation and respect for the rule of law in Rwanda; in demonstrating the viability and effectiveness of the process of international legal accountability for international crimes,” Jallow said.