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Rwanda: Businessman Convicted of Genocide

(Nov. 12, 2010) On November 1, 2010, Gaspard Kanyarukiga was convicted of supervising the massacre of 2,000 Rwandans in 1994. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) found Kanyarukiga, a former businessman, guilty of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity for his role in the killing of Tutsi civilians who had taken shelter in a church. Kanyarukiga had been arrested in South Africa in July 2004. The Tribunal, based in Arusha, Tanzania, gave him a sentence of 30 years of imprisonment. (Gaspard Kanyarukiga Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison, ICTR website (Nov. 1, 2010),; Former Rwandan Businessman Sentence to 30 Years by UN Genocide Tribunal, UN NEWS CENTRE (Nov. 1, 2010),

The Tribunal announced it was “satisfied beyond reasonable doubt” that Kanyarukiga was responsible for the deaths at the church and thus was guilty of genocide; it therefore dismissed the lesser charge of complicity in genocide. The charge of extermination as a crime against humanity, of which Kanyarukiga was also convicted, was based on the fact that the attack at the church was part of a “widespread or systematic attack against the Tutsi civilian population on ethnic grounds and that the accused knew that his acts formed part of this broader attack.” (ICTR website, supra.)

The accused entered a not-guilty plea shortly after his arrest in 2004. David Jacobs of Canada was the defense counsel, and Holo Makwaia of Tanzania acted for the prosecution. (Id.)

The Tributnal was created by the United Nations Security Council in November 1994, to prosecute the individuals responsible for acts of genocide committed in Rwanda during that year. It is governed by a special statute and operates under rules of procedure and evidence that were adopted in accordance with the statute. (General Information, ICTR website,
(last visited Nov. 2, 2010).)