UN tribunal convicts pastor and doctor of aiding and abetting in Rwanda genocide
The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today unanimously convicted a father and son of genocide and of crimes against humanity for participating in killings and attacks against a large number of Tutsi men, women and children who had sought refuge in a church and in the Bisesero area.
Gérard Ntakirutimana, 45, a medical doctor practicing at the Mugonero Adventist hospital, was sentenced to 25 years in prison, while his father, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, 78, a senior pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist church in the same area, was given a 10-year prison term by the three-judge court.
In the judgement, the Trial Chamber found that there was insufficient evidence against either of the defendants on the counts of complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity, and other inhuman acts as a crime against humanity contained in both indictments, and the count of serious violations of the Geneva Conventions contained in the Bisesero indictment.
The court found, however, that the elder Ntakirutimana facilitated the hunting and killing of Tutsi refugees hiding in Murambi Church in Bisesero by ordering the removal of the church roof so that it could no longer be used as shelter. He also transported armed attackers to various locations to pursue and kill Tutsi people.
The Chamber found beyond a reasonable doubt that Dr. Ntakirutimana killed two people and established that he shot at refugees and transported attackers, as well as took part in attacks on refugees at Murambi Hill and Muyira Hill on various dates.
Subject to any appeal the Ntakirutimanas will serve their prisons terms of one of the countries – Mali, Benin and Swaziland – with which the Tribunal currently has an agreement for the enforcement of sentences.