Rwanda U.N. Genocide Court Holds Final Hearing


The U.N.-backed international tribunal trying Rwanda's worst genocide cases ended its final hearing Wednesday after more than two decades of work.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), based in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, was set up in 1994 by the United Nations to try those responsible for the genocide.

Around 800,000 people -- mostly members of the minority Tutsi community -- were slaughtered in a 100-day orgy of violence, largely by ethnic Hutus.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the first woman to be found guilty of genocide and incitement to rape by an international tribunal, was the last of six defendants to appear in an appeal hearing on Wednesday.

Nyiramasuhuko, a former women's minister, was found guilty in June 2011 on seven of the 11 genocide charges she faced for atrocities committed in Rwanda's southern Butare region in 1994.

She cried in court as she begged appeal judges to acquit her, saying she was "not the type to commit these heinous crimes for which I was sentenced."

The appeal hearing, which opened on April 14, includes five others, including one of her sons, who was also sentenced at the same time to the same term on related charges.

The former minister's son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, who at the time of the genocide led militia groups in Butare, was sentenced to life for crimes including genocide, extermination and rape as a crime against humanity.

The four other co-accused are all former senior officials from the Butare area.

Former Butare prefect Sylvain Nsabimana was sentenced to 25 years, and his successor Alphonse Nteziryayo 30 years.

Two former mayors, Joseph Kanyabashi and Elie Ndayambaje, got 35 years and life in prison respectively.

Judges will make their ruling on the appeals later in the year.

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