Thirty years for the Nyarubuye massacre

21 June 2004 by our correspondent

Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, the former mayor of Rusumo, Kibungo province (eastern Rwanda), has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and rape). "Gacumbitsi led the attacks on the Tutsi civilians gathered at the Nyarubuye church and personally took part in these attacks," concludes the judgement, which was delivered on 17 June by Senegalese judge Andrésia Vaz, presiding over trial chamber 3 at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). 

The 60-year-old former mayor was chiefly convicted for his part in the massacre that took place at the church in Nyarubuye in mid-April 1994. The judges found that Gacumbitsi had ordered the attacks at the church where between 20,000 and 30,000 Tutsis were killed on 15 and 16 April 1994. As a result of numerous documentaries by western journalists, the church has become a symbol of the Tutsi genocide. The court also recognised "rapes reported by prosecution witnesses," after a number of women testified in court to having been raped or subjected to other forms of sexual violence on the orders of the former mayor.

Annoyed reactions in Rusumo

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