According to the Human Rights Watch
, former Rwandan Maj. Gen. Augustin Bizimungu directed police and soldiers under his command to murder tens of thousands of innocent Tutsi civilians who sought safety in churches and hospitals.
Bizimungu’s men were also ordered to coerce public officials and civilians to join in the search for killing Tutsi residents. If they did not participate in the hunt then they were punished and/or killed.
In 2002, the former army chief was arrested and was transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based in the northern region of Tanzania. Two years later, Bizimungu was charged with the killings in which he later denied and pleaded not guilty.
On Tuesday, the former Major General was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was found guilty of six counts, including violations of the Geneva Conventions and rape, reports the Associated Press
Presiding Judge Asoka de Silva said Bizimungu was responsible for the order “to exterminate the small cockroaches” on the first day of the 100-day genocide.
“It is a welcome decision by the ICTR. In its own circumstances, that is a big sentence, even if many people would think he [Bizimungu] deserved the highest,” said Rwanada’s chief prosecutor, Martin Ngoga, reports the Africa Review
reports that François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, former commander of the reconnaissance battalion, and Innocent Sagahutu, captain in the battalion, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison for their role in the genocide.
Former head of the paramilitary police, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, was also convicted, but was released because he already spent 11 years in prison since his detainment in Belgium, according to the International Business Times