Last Updated on May 29, 2020

Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Ex Rwandan Mayor Sentenced to Life

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Ladislas Ntaganzwa, a former mayor of Nyakizu in southern Rwanda has been sentenced to life imprisonment.  This is after he was found guilty of orchestrating the killing of thousands of people during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Ladislas Ntaganzwa was indicted in 1996 by the Arusha, the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. His indictment was on the charges of direct and public incitement to commit genocide, murder and rape.

Information about the sentencing was made known by Harrison Mutabazi, the court spokesman. He said: “Ladislas Ntaganzwa was today sentenced to life imprisonment over genocide crimes committed during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi’s”.

Details of Ntaganzwa Indictment

According to the indictment, he addressed the surrounded Tutsis and told them to lay down their arms. Then he gave the order for the massacre to begin, “whereupon the gendarmes and communal police shot at the crowd”.

The tribunal’s indictment accused Ntaganzwa of plotting to exterminate Rwanda’s Tutsi population. He is also accused of personally ordering the massacre of more than 25,000 Tutsi civilians in his town in April 1994. It then passed the case to a Rwandan government court.

The tribunal closed five years ago and was replaced by a successor body, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, with offices in Arusha and The Hague, Netherlands.

About 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus were killed during the genocide. The genocide took place during the last four months of the Rwandan Civil War.

Alexis Musonera, Ntaganzwa’s lawyer, said he planned to appeal the ruling. He says the evidence in the hearing were based on witnesses’ testimony. Musonera believes that those testimonies were not enough as some witnesses were contradicting themselves.

Related: Felicien Kabuga Denied Bail by French Court

The judgement was announced via video conference while Musonera used Skype to follow it with Ntaganzwa at Mpanga prison in the country’s southern province.

Prior to Ntaganzwa’s arrest, the United States had offered up to $5m for any information leading to his arrest. Ntaganzwa was finally arrested in December of 2015 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda took him into custody in March 2016.

Other Genocide Suspects

The sentencing comes shortly after the arrest of Felicien Kabuga, the top-most fugitive from the genocide. Kabuga was arrested in France last week after 25 years on the run. The wealthy businessman is accused of supplying machetes to the killers in the genocide and broadcasting propaganda urging mass slaughter.

On Wednesday, Kabuga appeared in a French court and denied the charges. His request for bail was denied. He seeks trial in France and not in Africa.

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals also announced last week that it had concluded that former Defence Minister Augustin Bizimana, another of the most-wanted fugitives, had died.

The death of Bizimana, arrest of Kabuga and sentencing of Ntaganzwa leaves Protais Mpiranya, the last high-profile genocide suspect at large. Mpiranya, a former commander of the Presidential Guard of the Rwandan Armed Forces was last known to be in South Africa.

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