The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) yesterday sentenced the former head of the Rwandan Tea Authority (OCIR-Thé) Michel Bagaragaza to eight years in prison.
The close ally to former President Juvenal Habyarimana had pleaded guilty of one count of Complicity in Genocide and given credit for the time he has spent in detention since his arrest in 2005.
Appearing before trial chamber III presided over by Judge Vagn Joensen, Bagaragaza was found guilty of having substantially contributed to the killings of more than one thousand Tutsi who had sought refuge at Kesho Hill and at Nyundo Cathedral, Western Province.
During the sentencing, Joensen stated that, “Bagaragaza in his public address to the Court has shown genuine remorse for his actions and has provided invaluable assistance to the Prosecution in its investigations.”
The chamber also found that he aided and abetted the planners and principal perpetrators of the killings, including military and civilian leaders and members of the Interahamwe militias, members of the Presidential Guard, military personnel, and the staff of Rubaya and Nyabihu Tea Factories.
A member of Habyarimana’s inner circle (Akazu) that planned and executed the Genocide, Bagaragaza was initially charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, and in the alternative, complicity in genocide.
He voluntarily surrendered to the tribunal in 2005.