WASHINGTON– The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Monday hailed a United Nations court decision sentencing Rwanda Genocide mastermind, Col. Theoneste Bagosora, to life in prison.
Major Aloys Ntabakuze and Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva were also convicted of crimes ranging from genocide to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
"As we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, Col. Bagosora’s conviction sends a powerful message that there is no escape from a genocidal past," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "The world will continue to follow the ICTR’s efforts, as other perpetrators of the Rwandan are placed on trial."
Following intense judicial scrutiny, Col. Bagosora, an ethnic Hutu, was found guilty of ordering the Hutu militia to slaughter ethnic Tutsis civilians. The U.N. established the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) tribunal in late 1994. Bagosora was captured in neighboring Camaroon in 1997 and stood trial beginning 2002. After hearing from some 242 witnesses, the court began its deliberation in June 1, 2007.
"After 14 years of waiting it is a relief to see a genocide mastermind like Bagosora receive a life the sentence that he deserves for his role in the 1994 genocide," commented Jacqueline Murekatete, Rwanda genocide survivor and human rights activist. "For survivors, this is certainly a step towards justice, but more needs to be done by the ICTR. Several other masterminds still await trial in Arusha and many more are fugitives who still enjoy safe havens around the world. I hope ICTR will also bring justice to these individuals for the sake of the million murdered, for the survivors, and for humanity at large."
At the age of 9, Murekatete lost her parents, six siblings, and a grandmother during the Rwandan genocide. In the U.S.. she founded Jacqueline’s Human Rights Corner, a genocide prevention education program, which has helped educate thousands on the Rwandan Genocide and genocide prevention.
The Rwandan Genocide claimed the lives of close to 1,000,000 Tutsi’s during the months of April to June of 1994. Following a plane crash that took the life of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana of on April 6th, Hutu extremists began killing countless Tutsis. Despite pleas to the international community, the crimes continued until a Tutsi rebel movement, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) overthrew the Hutu government and seized power. For years following the Rwandan genocide, Bagosora denied responsibility for the crimes he committed.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.