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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 June, 2004, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Mayor gets 30 years for genocide
Sylvestre Gacumbitsi
Gacumbitsi told Tutsis they would be safe inside the church
A former Rwandan mayor has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for organising the slaughter of 20,000 people during the 1994 genocide.

Sylvestre Gacumbitsi led the massacre of thousands of people sheltering in Nyarubuye Church, which was one of the worst events in the genocide.

He distributed weapons and urged ethnic Hutus to kill and rape their Tutsi neighbours.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days in 1994.


One girl told the court in the Tanzanian town of Arusha that Gacumbitsi, 57, had personally raped her.

According to the official indictment, the former mayor drove around his district "announcing by megaphone that Tutsi women should be raped and sexually degraded."

Rwanda massacre victims

Gacumbitsi, former mayor of Rusamo, told Tutsis they would be safe in Nyarubuye church but then led militias there to kill those inside.

After the genocide, he fled to a refugee camp in Tanzania, where he was found by a BBC television crew. He denied all knowledge of the killings.

He said he was not in the area when the massacres were committed. He was arrested in June 2001 in Tanzania and transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Gacumbitsi was found guilty of genocide, extermination and rape. But he was cleared of conspiracy to commit genocide and murder.

He showed no emotion when the sentence was announced, reports Reuters news agency.

The genocide ended when the then rebel Rwanda Patriotic Front came to power.

Eight years after being set up, the ICTR has convicted 21 people of genocide - six of whom are serving their sentences in Mali.

Twenty suspects are on trial, while another 22 are in detention, waiting for their trials to start.

The BBC's Ishbel Matheson
"His crimes were very notorious"

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