Two leaders of the former ruling Hutu tribe in Rwanda were found guilty on Wednesday by the U.N. war crimes tribunal. The 1994 massacre of approximately 800,000 Tutsis in 100 days by the Hutu killed much as 20% of the country's total population. It was the culmination of longstanding ethnic competition and tensions between the minority Tutsi, who had controlled power for centuries, and the majority Hutu peoples, who had come to power in the rebellion of 1959–62 and overthrown the Tutsi monarchy.
Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera who were president and vice-president of the ruling MRND party at the time of the genocide, had pleaded not guilty to the charges laid by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, according to Reuters.
“The chamber unanimously condemns Ngirumpatse to life in jail,” said presiding Judge Dennis Byron, before pronouncing the same sentence for Karemera.
“They also bear extended liability for the widespread rapes and sexual assaults of Tutsi women and girls, which were a foreseeable consequence of the joint criminal enterprise,” the court said in a statement.
Last month, the U.N. court found former mayor Gregoire Ndahimana guilty of genocide for planning the slaughter of more than 2,000 Tutsi refugees in 1994, and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.