Belgian court sends former Rwandan official to 25 years in prison for role in Rwandan genocide
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Belgian court sends former Rwandan official to 25 years in prison for role in Rwandan genocide

Fabien Neretse, a former Rwandan high official was sentenced to 25 years in prison, following a trial in Brussels. 

The former Rwandan high official aged 71 was convicted on Thursday for multiple murders and attempted murders, which qualified as war crimes that took place during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

He was also convicted of genocide because it was his desire to exterminate the Tutsi ethnic group which drove him to commit the murders.

The jury and the three judges of the court, retained a single mitigating circumstance in favour of Neretse, his age of 71, and pronounced a 25-year prison sentence.

© Belga

Neretse is the first Rwandan prosecuted in a Belgian court for war crimes related to the Rwandan genocide.

Neretse who was living in France, is guilty of having denounced several people of Tutsi origin living in his neighbourhood in the Nyamirambo neighbourhod of the Rwandan capital, Kigali on 9 April 1994 at the outbreak of the mass killings.

They were then shot dead by soldiers while they were preparing to flee their homes to join the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) camp.

The victims included members of the Sisi and Gakwaya families, as well as a Belgian, Claire Beckers, her husband, Isaiah Bucyana, and their daughter Katia.

Neretse is also guilty of masterminding other murders, including those of Joseph Mpendwanzi and Anastase Nzamwita in May and June 1994, near Mataba, his native village in north-western Rwanda, where he had settled mid-April 1994.

The jury established that Neretse had created, sustained and financed militia members of the Interahamwe, who committed numerous murders of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The Brussels Times