ARUSHA - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) yesterday sentenced the former Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Augustin Bizimungu, to 30 years in jail for his involvement in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He was convicted on six counts of genocide, crimes against humanity for murder, extermination and rape and violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional protocol II (murder; rape, humiliating treatment).
Three other former military officers were also sentenced yesterday, in the long-running case known as the Military II trial.
They include former chief of the gendarmerie (equivalent of police), Gen. Augustin Ndindiliyimana, former commander of the reconnaissance battalion, Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Captain Innocent Sagahutu, who commanded one of the squadrons of the unit.
Nzuwonemeye and Sagahutu each got 20 years imprisonment while Ndindiliyimana was sentenced to time served since 2000, and released.
Even though the judgment is somewhat welcome, Ndindiliyimana’s release did not go down well with many.
Jean Pierre Dusingizimana, the president of IBUKA, said they are not happy about the judgment on Ndindiliyimana because of the position he held (during the Genocide), in addition to his deeds.Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga welcomed the judgment.
“In its own circumstances, that is a big sentence even if many people would think they [convicts] deserved the highest,” Ngoga said.
“As for Ndindiliyimana particularly, a small sentence given is one of many where the ICTR doesn’t meet expectations of many on the ground.
But that is the matter for the Prosecutor at the ICTR to handle and weigh options.”
Nzuwonemeye was found guilty on two counts of crimes against humanity (murder) and violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional protocol II (murder).
Sagahutu was found guilty on two counts of crimes against humanity (murder) and violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II (murder), and acquitted on three counts of conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity (rape) and violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional protocol II .
(They were both found guilty of ordering the killing of Prime Minister Agathe Uwingiliyimana and being criminally responsible, as superiors, for the killing of Belgian UNAMIR soldiers.