WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States on Saturday welcomed the genocide conviction of a Rwandan ex-minister for women’s empowerment, saying it was “an important step” in the long journey toward accountability for the Rwandan people.
Judges at the UN court for Rwanda sentenced Pauline Nyiramasuhuko on Friday to life in prison for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and rape, and one of her sons to the same term on related charges.
“This ruling is an important step in providing justice and accountability for the Rwandan people and the international community,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.
“This conviction is a significant milestone because it demonstrates that rape is a crime of violence and it can be used as a tool of war by both men and women.”
Nyiramasuhuko, a mother of four who faced charges over atrocities committed in Rwanda’s southern Butare region in 1994, is the first woman to be found guilty of genocide and incitement to rape by an international tribunal.
Nuland noted that there are nine fugitives from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda still at large.
“The United States urges all countries to redouble their cooperation with the ICTR so that these fugitives can be expeditiously arrested and brought to justice,” she said.