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HomenewsRwandan doctor given 24-year jail sentence in France over 1994 genocide

Rwandan doctor given 24-year jail sentence in France over 1994 genocide

A Rwandan doctor was sentenced by a Paris court on Wednesday to 24 years in prison for his role in the 1994 genocide in his home country.

After a deliberation lasting nearly 15 hours, Sosthene Munyemana, 68, was found guilty of charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and participation in a conspiracy to prepare those crimes. He has denied any wrongdoing and his lawyers said he would appeal the decision.

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The six-week-long trial at the Assize Court in Paris came nearly three decades after a complaint was filed against Munyemana in the southwestern French city of Bordeaux in 1995.

Munyemana, who was impassive as the verdict was handed down, was immediately jailed. He is the sixth suspect to have faced trial in France over the 1994 massacres in which an estimated 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus who tried to protect them, were killed over 100 days.

At the time, Munyemana was a 38-year-old gynaecologist in Tumba, in Rwanda’s southern university district of Butare.

He has been accused of co-signing in April 1994 “a motion of support” for the interim government that supervised the genocide and of participating in a local committee and meetings that organised roundups of Tutsi civilians.

Munyemana was then a friend of Jean Kambanda, head of the interim government.

He acknowledged participating in local night patrols organised to track Tutsi people but said that he did it to protect the local population. Witnesses saw him at checkpoints set up across the town where he supervised operations, according to prosecutors.

Munyemana was also accused of detaining several dozen Tutsi civilians in the office of the local administration that was “under his authority at the time,” and of relaying “instructions from the authorities to the local militia and residents leading to the roundup of the Tutsis,” among other things.

Prosecutors said there was evidence of “intentional gathering meant to exterminate people,” and that Munyemana “couldn’t ignore” that they were going to be killed.

Munyemana arrived in September 1994 in France, where he has been living and working until he recently retired. Members of the Rwandan community in France first filed a complaint against him in 1995.

In recent years as relations improved with Rwanda, which has long accused France of “enabling” the genocide, France has increased efforts to arrest genocide suspects and send them to trial.

Source: News Agencies

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