The United States on Friday welcomed the 15-year jail term for genocide imposed on a Rwandan former mayor implicated in the massacre of nearly 2,000 people sheltering in a church.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) ruled Thursday that Gregory Ndahimana, 59, mayor of the Kivumu district during the 1994 genocide, helped fuel the killings with his presence outside the Catholic church at Nyange.
"The United States welcomes this ruling as an important step in providing justice and accountability for the Rwandan people and the international community," State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.
Ndahimana's conviction "is of particular significance, because as mayor of Kivumu he had authority over the police, and yet failed to prevent the massacre" of those who sought refuge in the church, he said.
"Militia, police, civil and religious authorities participated in bulldozing the church, burying the refugees sheltered inside," Toner said.
Ndahimana is the third person to be tried and convicted by the ICTR for the killing at Nyange.
Toner said "there are still nine ICTR fugitives at large and 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."
Source: AFP American Edition