Saturday, 15 March 2014

Rwanda genocide - first conviction in France

For the first time, a French court has handed down a prison sentence for involvement in the Rwanda genocide of 1994. Former spy chief Pascal Simbikangwa, aged 54, has been sent to gaol for 25 years.

He was found guilty of being involved in genocide and crimes against humanity. Simbikangwa, who was paralysed in a car crash, was arrested in 2008 while living under an alias on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte.

The convicted man, who rose to be third in command of Rwanda's intelligence services, was accused of supplying arms and issuing instructions to Hutu militia who were manning road blocks and killing Tutsi men, women and children as well as moderate Hutus. At least 800,000 people perished in just 100 days.

Rwanda’s current government has long accused France of helping in the genocide. (It was an ally of the Rwandan regime at the time.) But now the French are investigating another two dozen cases linked to the genocide.

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