Rwanda genocide court jails former ministers

A Rwandan soldier looks at hundreds of human skulls and remains of genocide victims at the genocide memorial in Bisesero, Rwanda, in 1999
Image caption All four ex-ministers were accused of calling for the massacre of Tutsis in meetings and speeches

Two former Rwandan ministers have been sentenced to 30 years in jail by the UN war crimes tribunal for involvement in Rwanda's genocide in 1994.

Former civil service minister Prosper Mugiraneza and former trade minister Justin Mugenzi were convicted of complicity to commit genocide and incitement to commit genocide.

But two other former ministers were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

The judgements come nearly eight years after the trial began.

They come 12 years since the former ministers were arrested.

The tribunal, based in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, was formed in late 1994 to try the alleged perpetrators of the genocide, in which nearly 800,000 people, mainly Tutsis, were killed.

In this case, all four ministers were accused of calling for the massacre of Tutsis during public meetings held across Rwanda and in speeches, some of which were aired on radio.

But Judge Khalida Rachid Khan, Judge Lee Gacuiga Muthoga and Judge Emile Francis Short acquitted former health minister Casimir Bizimungu and former foreign affairs minister Jerome-Clement Bicamumpaka, citing a lack of evidence.

The trial took place from 2003 to 2008, and Judge Short issued a partially dissenting opinion, saying the two convicts deserved a reduction of five years for violation of right to trial without undue delay, the tribunal said in a news release.

Mr Bizimungu was arrested in Kenya in February 1999, while the other three were all arrested in Cameroon in April 1999, the tribunal said.

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