KIGALI - The Government yesterday welcomed the verdict by Trial Chamber 1 of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to sentence former Kigali Rural prefect, Francois Karera, to life imprisonment.
“This gives an assurance to the people of Rwanda and to the entire world that genocide should inevitably be fought all over the world,” Justice Minister and Attorney General, Tharcisse Karugarama, said yesterday.
The Tanzania-based tribunal found Karera guilty on three of genocide and crimes against humanity for encouraging or ordering attacks on ethnic Tutsis.
He was acquitted of the crime of genocide as an alternative count to genocide.
“In sentencing Karera to imprisonment for the remainder of his life for his role in the above crimes, the Chamber took into account in particular his position of authority and the number of victims who were killed at Ntarama Church,” reads a statement from the UN tribunal.
Over 5,000 were killed at Ntarama church.
“We are happy that the ICTR is making a steady progress to render justice,” Karugarama added.
The sentencing of Karera brings the total number of cases completed by the tribunal to 35, with five acquittals and the total of those that have been sentenced to life to 10.
Meanwhile, Ibuka, the umbrella organisation for Genocide survivors’ associations has said that the former provincial leader got what he rightly deserves.
“There couldn’t have been a better sentence to Karera than this regarding the atrocities he committed against innocent Tutsis in Bugesera (in the Eastern Province) and in Kigali City,” Ibuka Executive Secretary, Benoit Kaboyi, said.
He added that the sentence is the reap Karera got for the hatred he sowed amongst Rwandans.
“He deserved it and we are happy for the sentence.”
Karera was arrested in Kenya on October 20, 2001 and his trial commenced on January 9, 2006.
With 33 trial days, this is one of the trials that took the smallest number of trial days.
He could however appeal since this judgment was rendered on first instance.
The ICTR is currently working on a tight deadline after the UN Security Council announced that it should wind up all activities by the end of 2008 for all cases on first instance and 2010 for appeals.