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A French court sentenced a Rwandan doctor to 23 years in prison for his role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the latest case against perpetrators of the massacre that killed more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the African country, Sky News reported.
The Paris court found Sosthene Munyemana guilty of charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and helping prepare a genocide.
Prosecutors accused Munyemana of taking part in local committees and meetings that organized round-ups of Tutsi civilians, adding that he “couldn’t ignore” that they were going to be killed.
The former gynecologist, a friend of the then-head of the interim government, Jean Kambanda, co-signed “a motion of support” for the administration that supervised the genocide.
He was also accused of detaining dozens of Tutsis in the office of a local administration that was “under his authority at the time,” as well as giving official instructions to local militias and residents “leading to the round-up of the Tutsis.”
Munyemana admitted that he participated in the night patrols to track Tutsis, but denied any wrongdoing. He claimed that he joined the patrols to protect the local population.
He had moved to France months after the genocide ended in July 1994, where he lived and worked until he recently retired. Members of the Rwandan community in France later identified Munyemana and lodged complaints against him.
Rwanda has accused France of “enabling” the genocide, but relations between both nations have improved in recent years as Paris has increased efforts to apprehend and prosecute individuals accused of perpetrating the killings.