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Rwanda genocide tribunal convicts 6, including first woman

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Friday convicted and sentenced [judgment, PDF] six individuals, including the first female to be charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, in relation to the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The six were charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity including extermination, murder, persecution and other inhumane acts. The court also charged Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Minister of Women's Development and first female genocide criminal, and her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali with rape. The court determined that the systematic killing of thousands of ethnic Tutsi authorized and facilitated by the individuals during the genocide amounted to crimes against humanity. Nyiramasuhuko was sentenced to life in prison based on the finding that she was guilty of seven of the 11 charges against her. The varying sentences for the other individuals range from 25 years in prison to life sentences. The six, who were arrested 16 years ago, will receive credit for time served.

The ICTR has tried a number of genocide suspects since its 1994 inception. The court sentenced [judgment summary, PDF; JURIST report] former Rwandan Armed Forces lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana [case materials] in December to life imprisonment after convicting him on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. In November, the ICTR convicted [JURIST report] former Rwandan businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga on charges of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity and sentenced the 65-year-old to 30 years in prison. The ICTR's work has recently been hampered by a lack of resources, leading the tribunal to ask the UN for assistance [JURIST report] in October. The tribunal has faced adversity since its creation, including the shooting death [JURIST report] of one of the senior defense lawyers in July. Earlier this year, Joseph Nzirorea, former president of the Rwanda National Assembly and secretary general of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development, died while on trial [JURIST report] for conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions [text].

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