A former senior Rwandan official was on Tuesday found guilty by a French court of complicity in the Rwandan genocide.
Sentenced to 20 years in prison, Laurent Bucyibaruta is the highest-ranking Rwandan to have faced trial in France over one of the bloodiest single episodes of the Rwandan genocide. An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in the 1994 100-days massacres.
As governor of the southern Gikongoro province, Bucyibaruta was accused of having encouraged tens of thousands of Tutsis to take refuge in the Murambi Technical School, by promising them food, water and protection.
Days later, in the early hours of April 21, they were slaughtered.
The court also examined Bucyibaruta’s responsibility in the massacre of around 90 Tutsi pupils at the Marie Merci School in Kibeho on May 7, 1994, and in the execution of Tutsi prisoners; including three priests in Gikongoro prison.
Evidence from more than 100 witness statements, including some from survivors from Rwanda, either in person or by video conference helped convict Bucyibaruta.
The 78-year-old during his trial denied any involvement in the killings.
His lawyers called for the court to take “a courageous decision” and acquit him.