The United Nations court for Rwanda, ICTR, on Friday, found Pauline Nyiramasuhuko guilty of genocide Pauline and imprisoned her for life. Her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, one of five co-accused, was also received life prison sentence.
Nyiramasuhuko, a former minister of women’s affairs, was found guilty by presiding judge William Hussein Sekule on seven of the 11 genocide charges she faced, including conspiracy to commit genocide and “rape as a crime against humanity.” She becomes the first ever woman to be charged with genocide by a UN court
The ruling by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) means that Pauline is the first women to be ever convicted of genocide.
Nyiramasuhuko, 65, charges she faced for atrocities committed in Rwanda’s southern Butare region in 1994.
William Hussein Sekule presiding, said: “For these crimes, and considering all relevant circumstances, the chamber sentences you Pauline Nyiramasuhuko to life imprisonment.”
He went on to say that, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko conspired with other members of the interim government to commit genocide in Butare and ordered rape at the Butare prefecture office. “She had superior responsibility on the Interahamwe (militia which she ordered) to commit the rapes at the Butare prefecture,” he said
The former minister’s son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, was also sentenced to life or crimes including genocide, extermination and rape as a crime against humanity. Five other co-accused, all former senior officials in the Butare area, were sentenced to terms ranging from 25 years to life at the court in Tanzania.
Nyiramasuhuko, was born into a modest family in southern Rwanda. At the age of 40 she enrolled at university, and four years later gained a law degree. In April 1992 she was appointed minister for women’s affairs, a position she continued to hold in 1994 when approximately 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsi, were killed by majority Hutus.
After the victory of the Rwandan Patriotic Front she fled into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, but was arrested in Kenya in July 1997 and transferred to the ICTR.
Nyiramasuhuko was the only female detainee at the UN court, where she first appeared at the tribunal in 2001, in what is the longest-running trial at the ICTR.
The verdict comes 16 years after the first of the co-accused was arrested.
OVERVIEW OF THE VERDICT
The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today convicted all the six accused persons in what is called the Butare case including the first woman to be charged of genocide, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the former Minister of Family and Women’s Development.
Trial Chamber II composed of Judges William Sekule, presiding, Arlette Ramaroson and Solomy Balungi Bossa then sentenced Nyiramasuhuko to life in prison for conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, crimes against humanity (extermination, rape, and persecution), and serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II thereto (violence to life, and outrages upon personal dignity).
The Trial Chamber also sentenced her son, Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, a former student, and Elie Ndayambaje, a former Bourgmestre of Muganza to life in prison. Arsène Shalom Ntahobali was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity (extermination, rape, and persecution), and serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II thereto (violence to life, and outrages upon personal dignity), while Ndayambaje was found guilty of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, crimes against humanity (extermination and persecution), and violence to life as a serious violation of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II thereto.
Sylvan Nsabimana, former Prefect of Butare was sentenced to 25 years in prison, for genocide, extermination and persecution as a crime against humanity, and violence to life as a war crime, while Alphonse Nteziryayo, a former Leutenant Colonel in the Rwanda Armed Forces and also Prefect of Butare was sentenced to 30 years for direct and public incitement to commit genocide, following his speeches at two commune meetings in June and at Ndayambaje’s swearing-in ceremony on 22 June 1994. Joseph Kanyabashi, former Bourgmestre of Ngoma Commune in Butare was sentenced to 35 years after being convicted, with Judge Ramaroson dissenting in part, on the basis of superior responsibility, of genocide, crimes against humanity (extermination and persecution), and violence to life as a serious violation of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II thereto.
The Trial Chamber then ordered that the convicts would receive credit for time served since their arrest, where applicable, and that they would be kept in detention under the present conditions until their transfer to their designated places of imprisonment.
Nyiramasuhuko was born in 1946 in Ndora commune, Butare prefecture, Rwanda. She was arrested in Kenya on 18 July 1997 while Ntahobali was born in 1970 in Israel, and was arrested in Kenya on 24 July 1997.
Ndayambaje was born on 8 March 1958 in Muganza commune, Butare prefecture, Rwanda. He was appointed Bourgmestre of his commune in January 1983, and he held this office for a number of years until October 1992. On 18 June 1994, he was reappointed Bourgmestre of Muganza commune. Ndayambaje was arrested in Belgium on 28 June 1995.
Nsabimana was born on 29 July 1951, in Mbazi commune, Butare prefecture, Rwanda. He served as Prefect of Butare from 19 April until 17 June 1994. Nsabimana was arrested in Kenya on 18 July 1997.
Nteziryayo was born on 26 August 1947 in Kibayi commune, Butare prefecture, Rwanda. Nteziryayo, was appointed Prefect of Butare on 17 June 1994. He was arrested in Burkina Faso on 24 April 1998.
Kanyabashi was born in 1937 in Huye commune, Butare prefecture, Rwanda. From April 1974 through July 1994, he served as Bourgmestre of Ngoma commune in Butare prefecture. He was arrested in Belgium on 28 June 1995.