ARUSHA-The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has sentenced former Kigali City prefect Col. Tharcisse Renzaho to life imprisonment.
He was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity (murder and rape), murder and rape as serious violations of the Geneva Convention.
However, he was acquitted of complicity to commit genocide.
Amid dead silence in a fully packed courtroom, the presiding judge Erik Møse announced that in passing the sentence, the chamber had considered the gravity of each of the crimes Renzaho was found guilty.
“Considering the relevant circumstances discussed in the judgment, the chamber sentences Renzaho to a single sentence of life imprisonment,” Møse ruled.
Life imprisonment is the biggest sentence that can be passed by the UN court.
The Chamber averred that the accused supported the killings of Tutsis at roadblocks, which were set up under his instructions and that he also made remarks encouraging the sexual abuse of women which eventually led to rape.
The visibly composed Renzaho was seen taking notes during the session in which the chamber concluded that he ordered the distribution of weapons, which were later used to kill Tutsis.
He was also found guilty of having participated in an attack at Sainte Famille Catholic church where more than one hundred Tutsis were killed.
The judge added that Renzaho also supervised a selection process at CELA a refugee site where about forty Tutsis were abducted and killed.
Legal experts who spoke to The New Times shortly after the judgment described the sentence as well deserved, adding that the accused was responsible for inciting masses on radio to kill Tutsis.
ICTR Deputy Prosecutor Bongani Majola said; “I think justice was done because the life imprisonment sentence cannot be worse than what he did.
He was convicted of almost all the counts that we preferred against him.”
The accused was arrested in September 2002 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and transferred to the UN Detention Facility in September 2002.