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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 19:21 GMT 20:21 UK
Rwandans sentenced over genocide
Samuel Ndashyikirwa (l) and Etienne Nzabonimana (r)
Ndashyikirwa (l) and Nzabonimana (r) were well-known businessmen
Two Rwandan businessmen convicted of war crimes and murder during the 1994 genocide have been given long prison sentences by a Belgian court.

Half-brothers Etienne Nzabonimana and Samuel Ndashyikirwa were jailed for 12 and ten years respectively.

They were found guilty of helping Hutu militia massacre some 50,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

They were tried under a Belgian law allowing trials for war crimes, even when committed by foreigners elsewhere.

Dozens of Rwandans testified against the two men who were arrested in Belgium, where they were living, in 2002.

Women's testimony

Prosecutors said the two businessmen provided weapons, vehicles and beer for militias in Rwanda's south-eastern Kibungo region during the April 1994 killings.

Witnesses also said the two Hutus supervised killing sprees which took place in churches and at a market.

One of the plaintiff's lawyers said she was relieved at the verdict, adding that the trial had been "extraordinary".

"They [the plaintiffs] were mostly women because it was women who survived the genocide, because they were raped while the men were killed," Michele Hirsch said.

Four Rwandans, including two nuns, were convicted of taking part in the genocide in a landmark ruling in 2001.

Belgium was subsequently inundated with lawsuits for war crimes against world leaders, such as Israel's Ariel Sharon and former US President George Bush.

The law was changed so that those charged had to live in Belgium.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the 1994 genocide.

Belgium was the colonial power in Rwanda until the country became independent in 1962


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