Rwanda's Callixte Nzabonimana gets life for genocide

Grave of one of the victims during Rwanda's 1994 genocide Up to 800,000 people were killed in just 100 days

A former Rwandan youth minister has been given a life sentence after being found guilty of playing a key role in the 1994 genocide.

Callixte Nzabonimana was found guilty of genocide, conspiracy, incitement and extermination by the UN tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania.

His lawyer told AFP he will appeal.

Ethnic Hutu militia and soldiers killed some 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in 100 days between April and June 1994.

Public incitement

""The trial chamber found that... Nzabonimana instigated the killing of Tutsis. It also found Nzabonimana guilty of entering into two separate agreements to kill Tutsis," the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said in a statement.

The conviction of the former youth minister hinged on his participation, alongside other members of the government, in a meeting held on 18 April, 1994 in the town of Murambi, in the central Gitarama province.

This meeting led to "an agreement" between Nzabonimana and other ministers "to encourage the killing of Tutsis... with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Tutsi population as such in Gitarama prefecture," the AFP news agency reports the court's verdict as finding.

The three ICTR judges ruled that Nzabonimana used public appearances in different parts of Gitarama to incite people to kill Tutsis.

"We will definitely appeal. The appeal hearing starts now," lead defence counsel, Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse, said.

Nzabonimana, 59, was arrested in Tanzania in February 2008.

The ICTR - set up in Arusha shortly after the 1994 genocide - is due to wind up its work by the end of 2014.

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