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Life sentence sought in France's first Rwanda genocide trial

Published on Mar 13, 2014 9:30 PM
 
Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandan army captain arrested on the French island of Mayotte in 2008. French prosecutors are seeking a life term for a Rwandan ex-soldier accused of participating in the country's 1994 genocide, in a verdict due on Friday, March 14, 2014, that could decide whether Paris and Kigali bring up to 20 other such cases to court. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP / INTERPOL

PARIS (REUTERS) - French prosecutors are seeking a life term for a Rwandan ex-soldier accused of participating in the country's 1994 genocide, in a verdict due on Friday that could decide whether Paris and Kigali bring up to 20 other such cases to court.

In a first for France, a jury will decide whether Pascal Simbikangwa - whom prosecutors allege was the No. 3 in Rwanda's intelligence services - is guilty of genocide and complicity in crimes against humanity during a wave of bloodletting in which 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus died.

Simbikangwa, 54, was initially charged as an accessory to genocide. But prosecutors said the testimony heard from some 50 witnesses during a complex and harrowing six-week trial shows he is guilty of genocide itself.

"Pascal Simbikangwa is among those who were behind (the crimes)," vice-prosecutor Aurelia Devos told the court in statements summing up the prosecutors' case on Wednesday.

 
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