SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — The UN war crimes tribunal for Rwanda has issued a life sentence for a former Rwandan army captain and intelligence officer nicknamed the "Butcher of Butare" for his role in the 1994 genocide in the Central African country.
On Tuesday, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sentenced Ildephonse Nizeyimana to life in prison.
The ICTR described him as one of the "top four" men accused of directing the Rwandan genocide.
On Thursday, the ICTR, which is based in the city of Arusha in northern Tanzania, found Nizeyimana guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. He was only acquitted on the charge of rape.
"The court sentences Ildephonse Nizeyimana to life in prison," Judge Lee Gacuiga Muthoga said in announcing the sentence.
The court said that Nizeyimana was responsible for authorizing or ordering the brutal slayings of several people in the southern town of Butare in April and May of 1994. He was the captain of a military training school in the town.
He was also found guilty of murdering Queen Rosalie Gicanda, the widow of King Mutara III, who was the monarch of Rwanda between 1931 and 1959.
Nizeyimana's lawyer, John Philpot, said his client would appeal.
Nizeyimana was arrested in 2009 in the Ugandan capital Kampala after 15 years on the run.
The Rwandan genocide began after the plane of the country's Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, was shot down and Hutus were incited to commit acts of ethnic violence against Tutsis. Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira was also killed in the plane crash.
All of the details of the double assassination have never come out and investigations continue to this day.
Soldiers and police under Health Minister Casimir Bizimungu's command directed the killing of thousands of Tutsis who had sought refuge in churches, hospitals, and schools. The UN says about 200,000 Hutus participated in the massacre.
800,000 to one million people were killed in the Rwandan genocide, which lasted approximately 100 days, and hence is called the "100 Days of Hell." —www.shafaqna.com/english