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: 14 July 2009; Appeal Judgment: 1 April 2011
Tharcisse Renzaho, former Prefect of Kigali-Ville and Colonel in the Rwandan Armed Forces, stood trial for his role in establishing and supporting roadblocks across Rwanda and for his role in attacks and rapes at Sainte Famille Church and in orchestrating disappearances at a refugee site called CELA. The prosecution charged Renzaho with direct and superior responsibility for genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity for acts of murder and rape, and war crimes for acts of violence to life and outrages upon dignity.
In 2009, an ICTR Trial Chamber convicted Renzaho on all counts with the exception of complicity in genocide, which is a lesser-included offence of the genocide conviction. The Trial Chamber found that Renzaho supported the killings of Tutsis at roadblocks that were set up on his orders, that Renzaho ordered the distribution of weapons that individuals used to kill Tutsis, that Renzaho supervised the selection of 40 individuals at the CELA refugee site, which lead to their abduction and death, that Renzaho participated in the attacks at Sainte Famille Church where more than 100 Tutsis were killed, and that Renzaho encouraged sexual assaults that resulted in rapes at Sainte Famille Church.
In 2011, the ICTR Appeals Chamber reversed Renzaho’s convictions for rape as a crime against humanity and for outrages upon dignity as a war crime, but affirmed Renzaho’s conviction for genocide, murder as a crime against humanity, and violence to life as a war crime. The Appeals Chamber affirmed the Trial Chamber’s sentence of life imprisonment.