Global Policy Forum

Nine sentenced Over Rwandan Genocide


June 16, 2001

An estimated 800,000 Rwandans died in the genocide Nine people have been sentenced to death in Rwanda for their part in the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed at least 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The sentences came at the end of a trial of 126 suspects. Thirty other accused were sentenced to life imprisonment, 25 were acquitted and the remaining suspects were given sentences of between four and 20 years. "The victims were cut into pieces," the judges are quoted by Reuters as saying, "they were tortured to death with clubs, machetes, swords, iron bars." Some of the suspects avoided the death penalty by owning up to their crimes during the trial, which lasted for seven months. It was Rwanda's biggest ever trial of suspects accused of involvement in the genocide.

Slow process

Rwanda has so far tried about 3,000 genocide suspects and more than 500 have been sentenced to death. There are still more than 100,000 people in Rwandan jails waiting to be tried. The process has been very slow in the country, and the government is trying to speed up the process.

A parallel process is taking place under the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal in neighboring Tanzania. That court, however, has only found eight people guilty.

The first executions of those found guilty of genocide in Rwanda took place in 1998 when 22 people were executed in public. It was a move that was condemned by some in the international community, but the Rwandan government said the executions would serve as a lesson that people could not get away with genocide.

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