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Human rights | Politics
Former Rwandan lawyer gets life imprisonment
afrol News, 24 September - Former Rwandan lawyer, Simeon Nshamihigo, was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment by war crimes tribunal for his role in 1994 genocide.
Mr Nshamihigo, 48, was arrested in 2001 by International Criminal Court for Rwanda (ICTR) based in Tanzanian city of Arusha where he worked under a false name until being recognised by a witness.
The three-bench judges found Mr Nshamihigo guilty on all four counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Delivering judgment yesterday, presiding Judge, Justice Dennis Byron, said Mr Nshamihigo as a Deputy Prosecutor of Cyangugu Prefecture, south-western Rwanda, participated in the genocide.
"He was in a prominent public position of trust, yet he exhibited zeal in the perpetration of these grave crimes, because of his position in the justice system, he was expected to hold the rule of law and principles of morality," he noted.
Three judges at the tribunal ruled that Mr Nshamihigo, a Hutu, had incited, ordered, helped and encouraged murder of Tutsis in Cyangugu in southwest Rwanda in order to "destroy all or part" of the ethnic group.
The Chamber found Nshamihigo guilty of his involvement in the killings of ethnic Tutsis in his native region, including ordering several roadblocks to intercept and kill them, the judgment read.
"He supervised the effective manning of those roadblocks and that several Tutsis were killed by the Interahamwe at the road blocks," said Justice Byron.
Mr Nshamihigo was detained by tribunal security staff and then handed over to immigration officials in Tanzania after it was discovered he was using an assumed name and a false passport. He was going by the name of Sammy Bahati Weza and claiming to be a Congolese citizen instead of a Rwandan.
His arrest came at a time when Rwandan government had accused tribunal of employing a number of genocide suspects, particularly in defence roles.
The arrest of Mr Nshamihigo had raised fresh questions about security at the tribunal. In February, 2001, Hassan Ngeze, a Rwandan newspaper editor already convicted for genocide, was discovered to be running a website from his cell and using it to denounce judges hearing his case.
Around 800,000 people, most from Tutsi minority, were killed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
By staff writer
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