FRANCE-RWANDA - 
Article published the Saturday 15 March 2014 - Latest update : Saturday 15 March 2014

French court sentences former Rwandan spy-chief to 25 years in prison for genocide

Journalists arrive for the sentencing of Pascal Simbikangwa at a Paris court. The trial of the former Hutu officer is the first of its kind in France
Journalists arrive for the sentencing of Pascal Simbikangwa at a Paris court. The trial of the former Hutu officer is the first of its kind in France
Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

By RFI

Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan intelligence chief, was found guilty of complicity in the 1994 genocide and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He's the first genocide suspect to be tried in France, which has long been accused of being too slow to bring perpetrators to justice. The prosecution had called for life-imprisonment.

 

 

After more than 11 hours of deliberation, a guilty verdict was finally handed down to the 54 year old, former spy chief.

Throughout the six-week long trial, Simbikangwa repeatedly maintained he was innocent, even claiming he'd not seen a single corpse during the three-month wave of violence, sparked after the plane of President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down.

In just one hundred days, 800, 000 people were killed, mostly Tutsis. Simbikangwa tried to minimise his role in the genocide, but the court heard how he supplied weapons and gave orders to extremist Hutus.

He was thus found guilty of complicity and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The prosecution had wanted him imprisoned for life, whilst the defence requested he be acquitted, arguing the trial was politically motivated.

The trial was closely watched in France, long accused of being too slow to prosecute perpetrators of genocide.

The guilty verdict could set a precedent for other war criminals to face justice.

Interwiew with Rwanda Justice Minister, Johnston Busingye

It's an important day for French justice, which for 20 years has shielded genocide suspects

 

15/03/2014 by Christina Okello

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tags: Diplomacy - France and the world - Genocide - Habyarimana - Hutu - Law - Rwanda - Trial - Tutsi
Related articles
Comments
React to this article
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Close