- A Rwandan community court has sentenced a female Member of Parliament to life imprisonment after she was found guilty of genocide.
Ms Beatrice Nirere, who represented the ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front was convicted by a Gacaca court of Giporoso, in Gasabo district, five months into her new term. But she has however continually denied her involvement.
According to local reports Ms Nirere has been under the spotlight after witnesses in the Kigali suburb mentioned her as being a prominent member of the Interahamwe militia which spearheaded the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis, saying she distributed uniforms and other equipment to bands of Interahamwe killers.
The court also found her guilty of setting up and supervising a roadblock at a place popularly known as "Escalier" near her house where scores of minority Tutsi’s were massacred.
Ms Nirere, who was re-elected in September last year has admitted to a charge of handing out uniforms to the Hutu Interahamwe militiamen who led the killings.
The court was told that Ms Nirere, who was a deputy Governor in the former Byumba Prefecture in charge of social affairs, fled the advancing RPF troops in 1993 and moved to Kanombe, Kigali.
The village courts were set up four years ago to clear the huge backlog of genocide suspects awaiting trial in Rwanda's jails. However concerns have been raised in the past that Gacaca witnesses might not tell the truth for fear of revenge.
Local news reports said some genocide survivors have been killed in the rural areas to stop them giving evidence to the courts.
Thousands of Roadblocks were set up all over the country during the genocide to sort out people on ethnic basis. All those found to be Tutsis were killed. More than 800, 000 Tutsi’s and moderate Hutus were killed in the 100 days of slaughter.
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