Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

Rwandan MP convicted of genocide

Skulls of victims at the Genocide Memorial Site church of Ntarama, Rwanda
Some 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda's genocide

A female Rwandan MP and member of the Tutsi-led governing party has been found guilty of genocide and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Beatrice Nirere was convicted by a Gacaca traditional community court set up to deal with 1994 genocide cases.

The Rwandan Patriotic Front member had denied helping set up road blocks where ethnic Tutsis were killed and chairing meetings to plan the massacre.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the 100-day slaughter.

Nirere, who was re-elected in September last year, did admit a charge of handing out uniforms to the Hutu Interahamwe militiamen who led the killings.

The former rebel RPF came to power when its fighters marched into Kigali in June 1994 and ended the genocide.

Gacaca means "justice on the grass" and the village courts were set up four years ago to clear the huge backlog of genocide suspects awaiting trial in Rwanda's jails.

Concerns have been raised in the past that Gacaca witnesses might not tell the truth for fear of reprisals.

A number of genocide survivors have been killed, possibly to stop them giving evidence to the courts.

A UN court has been set up in the Tanzanian town of Arusha to deal with the ringleaders.

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