Genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda: ex-doctor Sosthène Munyemana sentenced in Paris to twenty-four years of criminal imprisonment

Former Rwandan doctor Sosthène Munyemana was sentenced, Wednesday, December 20, by the Paris Assize Court to twenty-four years of criminal imprisonment, with a security period of eight years, for his involvement in the genocide of the Tutsi in 1994

Genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda: ex-doctor Sosthène Munyemana sentenced in Paris to twenty-four years of criminal imprisonment

Former Rwandan doctor Sosthène Munyemana was sentenced, Wednesday, December 20, by the Paris Assize Court to twenty-four years of criminal imprisonment, with a security period of eight years, for his involvement in the genocide of the Tutsi in 1994.

At the age of 68, he was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity, and participation in an agreement to prepare for these crimes. He was to be imprisoned immediately. His lawyers immediately announced their intention to appeal the verdict.

The public prosecutor had requested a sentence of thirty years of criminal imprisonment against him, considering that the “sum” of his choices outlined “the features of a genocidaire”. He was accused of having signed a motion of support for the interim government established after the attack on the plane of Hutu President Juvénal Habyarimana, which encouraged the killings committed between April and July 1994.

The Rwandan genocide left more than 800,000 dead, most of them Tutsi, according to the UN. He was also accused of having set up barriers and guard rounds in Tumba, in the prefecture of Butare, in the south of the country, during which people were arrested before being killed, and of having held the key to a sector office where Tutsi were locked up before their execution. The accused was part of a group “which prepared, organized and led the genocide of the Tutsi in Tumba on a daily basis,” declared the president of the court when announcing the verdict.

Six men already convicted in France

During the debates, Sosthène Munyemana continually contested these accusations, claiming to have been a moderate Hutu who had on the contrary tried to “save” Tutsi by offering them “refuge” in the sector office.

Arriving in September 1994 in France where his wife and father of three children already lived, he started a new life in the South-West, working as an emergency doctor and then as a geriatrician. He recently retired.

His case was the oldest investigated in France on facts linked to this genocide: opened in 1995 after a complaint filed in Bordeaux, the judicial information was transferred in 2001 to Paris. The indictment order was only issued in 2018. Six men have already been convicted in France for their participation in the Tutsi genocide, with sentences ranging from fourteen years of criminal imprisonment to life imprisonment.

Two of them must still be tried on appeal, and another, the former Rwandan prefect Laurent Bucyibaruta, sentenced at first instance to twenty years of criminal imprisonment for complicity in genocide, died on December 6.