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Former Rwandan mayor bags life sentence for genocide


Rwanda mapA German court has sentenced a former Rwandan mayor to life imprisonment, convicting him after a second trial of participating in genocide of some 400 members of the Tutsi minority in 1994.

Fifty-eight years old Onesphore Rwabukombe, was convicted in 2014 of being an accessory to genocide and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Both sides appealed that ruling, and a federal court found that evidence heard at the original three-year trial suggested there was sufficient evidence for a tougher conviction.

According to AP the federal court ordered the Frankfurt state court to reconsider the case. Judges finding of aggravated circumstances means that early release, which is common in Germany, is less likely.

Rwabukombe, a member of the Hutu majority who was mayor of Muvumba, was accused of ordering the attack at church grounds where the victims had taken refuge in the town of Kiziguro on April 11, 1994.

Rwabukombe denies having been at the site of the killings. However, the Frankfurt court found that he “knowingly and willingly, along with other authorities, prepared, organized, commanded and set in motion the massacre.”

The defendant, it said, “sought to accelerate and conclude the events, even when he himself was in danger from the advance of opposing troops.”

Rwabukombe, who sought asylum in Germany in 2002, was arrested in 2010 on an international warrant and had been in custody since then. He was not extradited after authorities concluded he could not receive a fair trial in Rwanda.

More than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

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