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Rwanda genocide tribunal sentences ex-official to life in prison

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Thursday sentenced [judgment, PDF; press release] former Rwandan Minister of Youth and Sports Callixte Nzabonimana [TrialWatch profile] to life in prison after finding him guilty of charges related to the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Nzabonimana was accused of planning, leading and participating in the mass murder of the Tutsi population in Rwanda while serving as a public official between April and July 1994. Nzabonimana was arrested in 2008 and pleaded not guilty [JURIST reports] to the charges. He plans to appeal the the ICTR ruling.

The UN-backed ICTR continues its work to prosecute those most responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide, but it has now begun transferring certain cases to Rwandan national courts. Earlier this month, the Referral Chamber of the ICTR transferred [JURIST report] the case of Ladislas Ntaganzwa [case materials] to the Rwandan national court system, making his the fourth Rwandan genocide case to be transferred to a national court. Last month, the court confirmed and proceeded with the transfer [JURIST report] of former Rwandan pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi [case materials]. The ICTR initially ordered the transfer [JURIST report] in June under Rule 11 bis, which authorizes the transfer of cases to appropriate national jurisdictions. Uwinkindi pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in 2010. The other two transferred cases are against Fulgence Kayishema [case materials; JURIST report], a former police inspector, and Charles Sikubwabo [case materials], former Bourgmestre of Gishyita, Kibuye Prefecture. Both suspects remain at large.

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