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: 18 December 2008; Appeals Judgment: 14 December 2011; Appeals Judgment: 18 May 2012
Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, the former Director of the Cabinet of the Rwandan Ministry of Defense, General Gratien Kabiligi, the former Head of the Operations Bureau of the Rwandan Army General Staff, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, the former commander of the elite Para Commando Battalion, and Colonel , the former Commander of the Gisenyi Operational Sector, stood trial for their role in facilitating the Rwandan military’s commission of massacres and other atrocities across Rwanda during April and June of 1994. The prosecution charged the defendants with direct and superior responsibility for conspiracy to commit genocide; genocide; crimes against humanity for acts of murder, extermination, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts; and war crimes for acts of violence to life and outrages upon personal dignity. Additionally, the prosecution charged Nsengiyumva with direct and superior responsibility for incitement to commit genocide.
In 2008, an ICTR Trial Chamber found that Bagosora was responsible as a superior for the killings of sixteen named individuals, including Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian peacekeepers; rapes perpetrated at roadblocks in Kigali; crimes committed at several religious and community centers in Kigali Prefecture; and killings in Gisenyi Prefecture. The Trial Chamber also found that Bagosora was directly responsible for the murder of Augustin Maharangari as well as the killings committed at roadblocks in Kigali Prefecture. The Trial Chamber convicted Bagosora of genocide; crimes against humanity for acts of murder, extermination, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts; and war crimes for acts of violence to life and outrages upon dignity. The Trial Chamber found Ntabakuze responsible as a superior for crimes committed in Kigali Prefecture in April 1994, and the Chamber convicted Ntabakuze of genocide; crimes against humanity for acts of murder, extermination, persecution, and other inhumane acts; and war crimes. The Trial Chamber found that Nsengiyumva was directly responsible for ordering targeted killings in Gisenyi Prefecture and for aiding and abetting attacks in Bisesero area in Kibuye, and the Chamber convicted Nsengiyumva of genocide; crimes against humanity for acts of murder, extermination, persecution, and other inhumane acts; and war crimes for acts of violence to life. The Trial Chamber acquitted Kabiligi on all counts after finding that the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Kabiligi exercised authority over the Rwandan Armed Forces in connection with the charges against him.
In 2011, the ICTR Appeals Chamber affirmed Bagosora’s convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, but reversed the Trial Chamber’s finding that Bagosora was responsible for killings in Gisenyi Prefecture, for the killings of two named individuals and the 10 peacekeepers, for crimes committed during Kigali area roadblocks (finding him liable as a superior rather than directly), and for a several acts of murder and other inhumane acts in connection with crimes against humanity. The Appeals Chamber also reversed the Trial Chamber’s finding that Nsengiyumba was directly responsible for killings in Gisenyi and Kibuye but found that Nsengiyumba was responsible as a superior for killings in Gisenyi, and the Appeals Chamber affirmed Nsengiyumba’s convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The Appeals Chamber reduced Bagosora’s life sentence to 35 years imprisonment and reduced Nsengiyumba’s life sentence to 15 years imprisonment. In 2012, the Appeals Chamber affirmed the majority of Ntabakuze’s convictions for crimes committed in Kigali, but overturned his conviction for murder as a crime against humanity. The Appeals Chamber reduced Ntabakuze’s life sentence to 35 years’ imprisonment.