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Vincent Rutaganira Released After Completing his Sentence

Vincent Rutaganira, who was sentenced on 14 March 2005 to 6 years’ imprisonment after being convicted of crimes against humanity (extermination) for having aided and abetted by omission the attacks at Mubuga church (Gishyita commune) that resulted in thousands of deaths among the Tutsi refugees within the church, was released from the United Nation Detention Facility on Sunday 2 March 2008.

Vincent Rutaganira was elected Conseiller for Mubuga secteur in 1985, and acted as Conseiller until 1994.

Rutaganira pleaded guilty to one count of an indictment charging him with extermination as an accomplice by omission to a crime against humanity. The Trial Chamber granted the Prosecutor’s request to dismiss all other charges.

In handing down the sentence, Trial Chamber III, then composed of Presiding Judge Andresia Vaz ( Senegal), Judge Flavia Lattanzi ( Italy) and Judge Florence Rita Arrey ( Cameroon) took into account several mitigating circumstances including Rutaganira’s voluntary surrender to the Tribunal in March 2002, his guilty plea, his good behavior while in detention, his advanced age of 60 and his ill health. It also ruled that Rutaganira was entitled to credit for the period during which he was detained in custody following his arrest on 4 March 2002.

In sentencing him, the Trial chamber said: “The Accused knew that during the disturbances that occurred earlier in Kibuye préfecture, Tutsi civilians used to seek refuge in churches, and especially that between 8 and 15 April 1994, thousands of Tutsi civilians took refuge in the Mubuga church. Moreover, he admitted that between 14 April and about 17 April 1994, the Tutsi that congregated in the said church were attacked and that the attacks resulted in thousands of deaths and numerous injuries to the men, women and children within the church. Before the attacks, the Accused saw the attackers assembling; the said attackers included armed Hutu civilians, members of the communal police and national gendarmerie … In spite of his position and knowledge of the above-mentioned facts, the Accused took no measures to protect the Tutsi.”

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