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Father & son get 35 years

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Ntakirutimanas
ntakirutimanas.jpg
Elizaphan & Gérard

RWANDA: ICTR convicts father and son of genocide
 
NAIROBI, 19 Feb 2003 (IRIN) - The International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday
sentenced Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana to 10
years in prison and his son, Gerard, to 25 years in
prison for their roles in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
The tribunal said in a statement that Trial Chamber
I Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erick Mřse of
Norway and Andresia Vaz of Senegal, had delivered the unanimous
verdict.
 
The judgment against the father and son is the ninth since the UN
Security Council established the ICTR in 1995. The tribunal has now
convicted 10 accused and acquitted one.
Elizaphan, 78, was a senior pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist
church in Mugonero in Rwanda's Kibuye Prefecture during the
genocide. He was convicted of aiding and abetting in genocide. Gerard
Ntakirutimana, 45, was a doctor at the Mugonero Adventist hospital.
He was convicted of genocide and of crimes against humanity
(murder).
 
The judges gave credit for the time the two had already served on
remand in the United States and in Arusha. Elizaphan was arrested in
Texas, United States, on 29 September 1996, and transferred to the
Arusha, the ICTR's headquarters, in 2000. Gerard was arrested in Cote
d'Ivoire in 2000 and transferred to the tribunal the same year. This
means that Elizaphan has already served six and a half years of the
10-year jail term, and Gerard about two years of his 25-year
sentence.
 
According to the ICTR, Elizaphan and Gerard jointly faced two
indictments, the "Mugonero" indictment with five counts and the
"Bisesero" indictment with seven counts. The indictments charged the
Nktakirutimanas with genocide, in the alternative complicity in
genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, as well as crimes against
humanity.
The father and son allegedly participated in killings and in attacks
against "a large number of men, women and children" who had sought
refuge in the Mugonero Adventist complex, as well as in the area of
Bisesero, both in Kibuye Prefecture.
 
The ICTR judges "examined in detail all of the prosecution's allegations
against the accused, and found that there was insufficient evidence
against either of them on the counts of complicity in genocide,
conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity
(extermination), crimes against humanity (other inhumane acts)
contained in both indictments, and the count of serious violations of
the Geneva Conventions contained in the Bisesero Indictment," the
ICTR said.
 
However, the judges found that Elizaphan had conveyed attackers to
Murambi Church and ordered the removal of the church roof so that it
could no longer be used as a shelter for the ethnic Tutsis. "In so
doing, he facilitated the hunting down and the killing of the Tutsi
refugees hiding in Murambi Church in Bisesero," the tribunal quoted the
judges as saying.
The judges found "beyond a reasonable doubt" that Gerard "killed
Charles Ukobizaba, a Tutsi accountant at the Mugonero hospital, by
shooting him in the chest from a short distance in the hospital
courtyard at around midday on 16 April 1994. It also found that he
shot and killed a person named Esdras during an attack at Gitwe
Primary School".