News Africa

Monday 11 December 2017

Woman convicted of genocide in Rwanda

Mike Pflanz in Nairobi

Rwanda's former minister for family and women's affairs became the first woman yesterday to be found guilty of genocide.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko (65) was also found guilty of inciting rape by the UN-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which is prosecuting those accused of orchestrating the killings of more than 800,000 people in 1994.

She stood accused alongside her son, Arsene Ntahobali (41) who was a student at the time of the massacres. He was convicted of similar charges and both were jailed for life.

As a senior member of the Hutu government, Ms Nyiramasuhuko took part in cabinet meetings at which decisions were made on how to exterminate the Tutsi minority in Rwanda. She was put in charge of the southern region of Butare where she grew up, and arranged loyal soldiers and militia fighters to search out Tutsis to kill. The massacres in Butare started later than elsewhere in Rwanda, because the area had a large Tutsi population and a long history of ethnic harmony.

Tutsis fled there from the rest of the country once the genocide had started, thinking they would be safer. But once Ms Nyiramasuhuko took charge, she ordered Tutsis to be loaded on to trucks and driven to the town's outskirts to be killed. Later, she ordered men from the Interahamwe militia to rape Tutsi women and girls.

Her son took part in those rapes and ran a roadblock in Butare which was described as "one of the most terrifying" in the region. Men, women and children were seized from there and murdered.

"The evidence presented by these survivors is among the worst encountered by this chamber," the judges said. "It paints a clear picture of unfathomable depravity and sadism." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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