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Rwanda former women’s minister gets life sentence for Genocide

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By Agencies

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko (Net photo)

A former Rwandan women’s minister has been sentenced to life in prison for her role in the genocide and the rape of Tutsi women and girls.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, 65, is the first woman convicted by the UN-backed tribunal for the Rwanda genocide.
She was found guilty, along with her son and four other former officials, after a 10-year trial.morethan a miliion ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed during the 1994 massacres.
Nyiramasuhuko was accused of ordering and assisting in the massacres in her home district of Butare in southern Rwanda.The prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) accused her of taking part in the government decision to create militias throughout the country. Their mission was to wipe out the Tutsi population as fast as possible.

Along with her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, who was in his early 20s at the time, she was also accused of organising the kidnap and rape of Tutsi women and girls.Ntahobali, who was in his early 20s at the time of the genocide, was also found guilty and sentenced to life.Four other local officials got between 25 years and life in prison.

Nyiramasuhuko was found not guilty of murder and public incitementShe had denied all the charges.The trial opened in 2001 and was one of those used by the Rwandan government to highlight the slow pace of justice at the tribunal, based in Arusha, Tanzania.

Butare was once home to a large mix of Hutu and Tutsi people, and there was some resistance there to the orders to carry out the massacres.
The government of which Nyiramasuhuko was a member dismissed the most senior district official – a man who opposed the genocide. He was never seen again.When he was replaced, the massacres began and militias were flown in from the Rwandan capital Kigali to assist.

Nyiramasuhuko was accused of requesting military assistance to proceed with the massacres in her home commune.The prosecution says along with her son she often forced people to undress completely before loading them on to trucks and taking them to their deaths.

Although she was the only woman on trial for genocide before the ICTR, many other women have been convicted of genocide in Rwandan courts.Two nuns were found guilty of participating in the genocide by a court in Belgium.

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