Rwanda Jails Man Who Preached Genocide Of Tutsi 'cockroaches'

Rwanda Jails Man Who Preached Genocide Of Tutsi 'cockroaches'

A Rwandan court handed a life sentence on Friday to a former senior politician for hate speech aimed at stirring up killings of minority Tutsis during the central African country's genocide more than two decades ago.

An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by extremist forces in the regime, then dominated by Hutus, over a period of 100 days in 1994.

The high court convicted Léon Mugesera, 64, who was then a regional vice-chairman in the ruling party, of genocide and crimes against humanity.

During the trial, Mugesera was accused of having referred to the Tutsis as "cockroaches" who should be sent back to Ethiopia.

Foreign governments were accused of not doing enough to stop the slaughter by Hutu militiamen (AFP)

"The court finds that Mugesera is guilty of ... public incitement to commit genocide, persecution as crime against humanity and inciting ethnic-affiliated hatred," Judge Antoine Muhima said.

In 2012, Mugesera, was extradited to Rwanda from Quebec, where he had lived in exile for years, teaching for a time at Laval University and legally challenging Canada's efforts to deport him to face trial on genocide charges.

He said he would appeal the sentence because the court had not heard any of his witnesses or been "impartial and independent."

The genocide ended when rebels, led by current Tutsi President Paul Kagame, seized power in July 1994.

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