A Rwandan man who is among top genocide perpetrators was Thursday sentenced to life in prison by the High Court Chamber of International and Cross-border Crimes in Nyanza district, Southern province, over his involvement in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.
Ladislas Ntaganzwa was indicted in 1996 by the former International Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for crimes he committed during the genocide and was on the list of the nine most wanted genocide fugitives for whom the United States had placed a bounty of 5 million U.S. dollars suspected of being involved in the killings that claimed more than a million lives.
The 58-year-old man was arrested in 2015 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and extradited back to Rwanda in 2016 where he has been on trial since then.
He was found guilty of five crimes including Genocide crime, incitement to commit Genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity, rape as a crime against humanity and murder as a crime against humanity. He is particularly accused of personally leading militias that killed over 20,000 Tutsi in his former commune.
“We highly welcome the life sentence that has been handed over to Ntaganzwa. Justice has now been served, “Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, president of IBUKA, an umbrella body of genocide survivors’ associations of Rwanda, told Xinhua on Thursday in a telephone interview.
“It is exciting news for genocide survivors and victims to see those who are responsible for more than a million lives lost during the genocide against Tutsi being held to account,” added Dusingizemungu.
According to the indictment the ICTR made against Ntaganzwa, he participated in a plan to exterminate minority ethnic Tutsi population in his commune of Nyakizu from late 1990 to July 1994.
During the 1994 genocide, Ntaganzwa was the mayor of Nyakizu commune in former Butare Prefecture, Southern Rwanda and also headed the then ruling party MRND (National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development) in the commune.
Ntaganzwa was born in 1962 in Gasharu, in the Muhambara sector of the commune of Nyakizu (then in the prefecture of Butare in Rwanda), now Huye district, Southern Province.
Ntaganzwa’s conviction came barely two weeks after the arrest of Felicien Kabuga, one of the most wanted fugitives of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi who was arrested in Paris, France by French authorities as the result of a joint investigation with the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) Office of the Prosecutor after 26 years on the run.
Kabuga was indicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 1997 on seven counts including genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide.
Another Rwandan genocide fugitive who was on the most wanted list, Augustin Bizimana is believed to have died in 2000 in Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo, office of IRMCT announced last Friday.
The confirmation of Bizimana’s death was based on the conclusive identification of Bizimana’s remains in a grave site in Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo, said IRMCT.