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Rwanda: Former Mayor Convicted for Crimes Committed During the 1994 Genocide

(Nov. 18, 2011) On November 17, 2011, the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR (last visited Nov. 17, 2011)) convicted Gregoire Ndahimana, former mayor of Kivumu commune, Kibuye prefecture, of crimes committed during the 1994 Rwanda genocide. (UN Court Convicts Former Rwandan Mayor of Genocide, REUTERS (Nov. 17, 2011).) The prosecutor had indicted Ndahimana in 2001 on three counts: genocide (with complicity in genocide as an alternative charge), conspiracy to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity. (Indictment, Case No. ICTR-2001-68-I, ICTR website (last visited Nov. 17, 2011).)

The indictment, among other things, alleged that in the Kivumu commune, where Hutu residents outnumbered Tutsis by a ratio of eight to one, Ndahimana and his co-conspirators ordered the killing of 2000 Tutsis who took refuge in a church, by bulldozing the church building. (Id.) Ten years after he was indicted, the Court found Ndahimana guilty on two of the three counts and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. (Reuters, supra.) In a statement it released, the ICTR stated that “[t]he chamber … found Ndahimana guilty of genocide and extermination by aiding and abetting as well as by virtue of his command responsibility over communal police in Kivumu.” (Id.)

The ICTR was established on November 8, 1994, by a United Nations Security Council resolution, with a mandate to prosecute the individuals who perpetrated the genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law in Rwanda and neighboring countries from January 1 to December 31, 1994. (General Information, ICTR website (last visited Nov. 17, 2011).) Located in Arusha, Tanzania, the ICTR is made up of three organs: the Chambers and the Appeals Chamber, the Office of the Prosecutor (tasked with investigations and prosecutions), and the Registry (tasked with providing judicial and administrative support to the other organs). (Id.)