Rwanda genocide tribunal holds final hearings

Judge at Rwanda tribunal Image copyright AP
Image caption About two-thirds of those indicted over the genocide were convicted

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has held its final hearings into crimes carried out during the 1994 genocide in which 800,000 people died.

In more than 20 years of operation, the UN-backed court has indicted 93 people for their roles in the violence.

It was the first international tribunal to deliver verdicts in relation to genocide and recognise rape as a means of carrying out genocide.

Sixty-one defendants were convicted and 14 were acquitted.

Others were referred for trial elsewhere, died before or during their trials, were fugitives or had their indictments withdrawn.

Six appeals

The last defendant to appear before the court, based in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, was former Rwanda women's minister Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who was appealing against her conviction for genocide and incitement to rape.

In 2011 she became the first woman to be found guilty of such crimes by an international tribunal.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The killings took place in Rwanda's southern Butare region over about 100 days

Ms Nyiramasuhuko begged the appeal judges to acquit her, saying she was "not the type to commit these heinous crimes for which I was sentenced".

The court had earlier heard appeals from five other defendants, including one of Ms Nyiramasuhuko's sons, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali.

He was a militia leader in Rwanda's southern Butare region at the time of the killings and was sentenced in 2011 to life in prison for genocide, extermination and rape as a crime against humanity.

Four other co-accused people, all serving long jail terms, were senior officials in Butare when mostly members of the minority Tutsi community were massacred, largely by ethnic Hutus.

Verdicts in the six appeals are expected later this year.

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