[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Monday convicted [judgment summary, PDF; press release] former Rwanda businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga [case materials] on charges of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. Kanyarukiga was indicted [text, PDF] in 2001 for his alleged involvement with the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and faced charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The charges arose from events in which the former businessman is said to have planned and supervised large-scale killings of Tutsis in Rwanda’s Kibuye prefecture through a conspiracy with police and government officials. Specifically, the court highlighted Kanyarukiga’s involvement with the church massacre in Nyange that killed more than 2,000 Tutsi victims, which triggered the charge of extermination as a crime against humanity. A court spokesperson said:
the Chamber was satisfied that the demolition of the Nyange Church was committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against the Tutsi civilian population on ethnic grounds and that the accused knew that his acts formed part of this broader attack. The Chamber also found that the accused intentionally participated in a mass killing of Tutsi civilians amounting to extermination as a crime against humanity.
In light of the genocide conviction, the ICTR acquitted Kanyarukiga on the charge of complicity of genocide because the conviction negates the charge of complicity. The ICTR sentenced the 65-year-old Kanyarukiga to 30 years in prison for his crimes.
The ICTR continues its work to prosecute those most responsible for the Rwandan genocide, but its work is hampered by a lack of resources, leading the tribunal to ask the UN for assistance [JURIST report] in October. In September, the ICTR opened the trial of a former Kivumu mayor [JURIST report], charged in connection with deaths at a church in that town in April 1994. 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].