Trial Chamber I of the the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), today sentenced François Karera former Prefect of Kigali-Rural, to life imprisonment for the remainder of his life after finding him guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity based on his participation in the killing of Tutsis in April 1994. The Trial Chamber found Karera guilty on three of the four counts against him. He was acquitted of complicity to commit genocide, which was an alternative count to genocide.
In mid-April 1994, buses full of Hutu militiamen and soldiers arrived in Ntarama sector and attacked the Tutsi refugees who were gathered at Ntarama Church, killing several hundreds of Tutsis. Karera was present and encouraged the attackers. In April and May 1994, Tutsis were also killed in Rushashi commune in Kigali-Rural prefecture and in Nyamirambo sector in Nyarugenge commune, Kigali-Ville prefecture, mainly at roadblocks. François Karera ordered or instigated these acts. He was found to have participated in genocide, extermination and murder.
In sentencing Karera to imprisonment for the remainder of his life for his role in the above crimes, the Chamber took into account in particular his position of authority and the number of victims who were killed at Ntarama Church.
On 4 May 2006, the Prosecution closed its case. The Defence closed its case on 23 August 2006. The Chamber heard 18 Prosecution witnesses and 25 Defence witnesses, including Karera, over 33 trial days, 15 of which were half days. Between 1 and 3 November 2006, the Chamber conducted a visit to the alleged crime sites in Rwanda.
François Karera was arrested in Kenya on 20 October 2001.The trial commenced on 9 January 2006 before Trial Chamber I composed of judges Erik Møse (Norway), presiding, Sergei Alekseevich Egorov (Russian Federation) and Florence Rita Arrey (Cameroon). Karera was represented by Carmelle Marchessault and Steven Kelliher, both from Canada. The Prosecution team included Charles Adeogun-Phillips, Adesola Adeboyejo, Peter Tafah, Memory Maposa and Florida Kabasinga.