This case summary is part of a collection of summaries describing the cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). See the Online Resource Hub pages on the ICTR and International Criminal Law, and table of ICTR case summaries for additional information.
Trial Judgment: 17 May 2011; First Appeal Judgment: 11 February 2014; Second Appeal Judgment: 30 June 2014
Augustin Bizimungu, the former Chief of Staff of the Rwanda Armed Forces, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the former Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie Nationale, François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, the former Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion in the Rwandan Army, and Innocent Sagahutu, the former second-in-command of the Reconnaissance Battalion in the Rwandan Army, stood trial for their role in numerous attacks against political leaders and unarmed Tutsi civilians perpetrated by the Rwanda Armed Forces, including the Rwandan Army, the Gendarmerie Nationale, and the Reconnaissance Battalion. The prosecution charged all four defendants with direct responsibility for conspiracy to commit genocide; Bizimungu and Ndindiliyimana with genocide and complicity in genocide; all four defendants with direct and superior responsibility for murder as a crime against humanity and violence to life as a war crime; Bizimungu and Ndindiliyimana with direct and superior responsibility for extermination as a crime against humanity; and Bizimungu, Nzuwonemeye, Sagahutu with superior responsibility for rape as a crime against humanity and outrages upon dignity as a war crime.
In 2010, an ICTR Trial Chamber convicted Bizimungu of genocide, crimes against humanity for act of murder, extermination, and rape, and war crimes for acts of violence to life and outrages upon dignity; Ndindiliyimana of genocide, crimes against humanity for acts of murder and extermination, and war crimes for acts of violence to life; and Nzuwonemeye and Sagahutu of murder as a crime against humanity and violence to life as a war crime. In addition to finding the defendants guilty of several atrocities perpetuated by the Rwanda Armed Forces in Kansi Parish, St André College, Nyanza Hill, and Musambara Commune Office, the Trial Chamber found that Nzuwonemeye and Sagahutu ordered the killing of Prime Minister Agathe Uwingiliyimana and found that they were responsible for the killing of the Belgian UNAMIR soldiers. The Trial Chamber sentenced Bizimungu to 30 years’ imprisonment, Nzuwonemeye and Sagahutu to 20 years’ imprisonment each, and Ndindiliyimana to time served, which included Ndindiliyimana’s 11-year detention prior to the judgment.
In February 2014, the ICTR Appeals Chamber acquitted Nzuwonemeye and Ndindiliyimana on all counts, affirmed Sagahutu’s conviction for crimes against humanity and war crimes, but reduced Sagahutu’s sentence from 20 to 15 years’ imprisonment. In June 2014, the ICTR Appeals Chamber dismissed Bizimungu’s appeal, and upheld his 30-year sentence.