ARUSHA - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) yesterday sentenced Gaspard Kanyarukiga, a former businessman in the former Commune Kivumu (Western Province) to 30 years in prison for Genocide crimes.
Trial Chamber II presided over by Judge Taghrid Hikmet found the former businessman guilty of Genocide and Extermination as a Crime Against humanity.
However, he was acquitted on the alternative charge of complicity in genocide. The chamber ruled that it was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Kanyarukiga was criminally responsible for planning the killing of members of the Tutsi ethnic group at the Nyange Church.
It also found that the accused intentionally participated in mass killings of Tutsi civilians amounting to extermination as a crime against humanity.
“The chamber sentences Gaspard Kanyarukiga to a single sentence of 30 years in prison,” the presiding judge said.
In an interview with The New Times, the ICTR Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, said that his office was pleased that Kanyarukiga had been found guilty.
“We are very pleased with the conviction of Genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity,” he said by phone from Arusha, Tanzania yesterday.
“We have not got the full text of the judgment yet, but we shall be reviewing the sentencing as soon as we get it.”
In 2004, Kanyarukiga entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him when he made his initial appearance.
Kanyarukiga is not the only Rwandan linked with the massacre at the Nyange church.
Others are parish priest Athanase Seromba, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment, Grégoire Ndahimana, former mayor of the commune currently facing genocide charges and ex-judicial police inspector Fulgence Kayishema, who is on the run.
South African authorities arrested Kanyarukiga in July 2004 at the request of the tribunal and transferred him to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha the same year.
Counsel David Jacobs from Canada represented the accused while the Prosecution was led by Holo Makwaia.