A court in Rwanda has sentenced a former politician to life in jail after he was found guilty of genocide charges, in which close to a million people were killed in 1994.
Ladislas Ntaganzwa was arrested in December 2015 in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after over a decade on the run.
The United States had offered up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest, after he was indicted in 1996 by the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on charges of direct and public incitement to commit genocide, murder and rape.
The tribunal closed in 2015 and was replaced by International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, with offices in Arusha and the Hague, Netherlands. Rwanda took charge of the case and custody of Ntaganzwa in 2016 for domestic trial.
The Rwandan court accused Ntaganzwa, head of the commune of Nyakizu in southern Rwanda of plotting to exterminate the Tutsi population and personally ordering the massacre of more than 200,000 Tutsi civilians in one parish in April 1994.
“Ladislas Ntaganzwa was today sentenced to life imprisonment over genocide crimes committed during the genocide against Tutsi in 1994,” the court spokesman, Harrison Mutabazi, said.
Alexis Musonera, Ntaganzwa’s lawyer, said he planned to appeal the ruling.
“We plan to appeal because evidence in the hearing was based on witnesses’ testimony but that was not enough as some witnesses were contradicting themselves. We are not happy about this lengthy life jail term,” Musonera said.
The judgement was announced by video conference while Musonera used Skype to follow it with Ntaganzwa at Mpanga prison in the southern province.