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Rwandan ex-mayor gets 15-year sentence for genocide

Written by: Staff

NAIROBI, Apr 13 (Reuters) A U N court trying masterminds of Rwanda's 1994 genocide sentenced today a former mayor convicted of abetting the slaughter to 15 years in jail.

But the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said Paul Bisengimana's sentence would be reduced by about three years because of time already served.

The ex-major of Gikoro Commune, a rural area outside the capital Kigali, was accused in his original indictment of ordering women of the Tutsi ethnic group to be raped.

He was also accused of transporting soldiers, Hutu militia, weapons and fuel during killings in Musha parish, where thousands of people who had sought refuge were murdered.

About 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in a spree that lasted 100 days in 1994, leaving the international community shocked and repentant for failing to stop the massacres.

ICTR spokesman Boca Sy confirmed Bisengimana's fate.

''He was sentenced for 15 years, and he will be given credit for the years he has served since December 2002,'' he told Reuters.

During his trial, the former mayor asked for forgiveness.

''I publicly express my remorse for not having been able to save innocent lives, although it was my primary mission to do so,'' he said. ''I ask for forgiveness from the families of victims and to all survivors who today still live with the shock of the traumatic events.'' Bisengimana was arrested in Mali on December 4, 2001.

The ICTR is under pressure to meet a United Nations deadline to finish all trials by 2008.

Reuters DKS BST005

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