Rwandan Genocide Mastermind Convicted
Bagosora sentenced to life by UN court for role in 1994 massacre
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 18, 2008 5:13 AM CST
A UN court convicted Théoneste Bagosora of genocide and crimes against humanity Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008 and sentenced him to life in prison.    (AP Photo Cukhdev Chhatbar/file)
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(Newser) – A UN court has convicted the organizer of the 1994 Rwandan genocide that claimed more than 500,000 lives and sentenced him to life in prison, reports the AP. Théoneste Bagosora was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as the deaths of a Rwandan prime minister and Belgian peacekeepers. As head of the notorious Interahamwe militia, he directed Hutu soldiers to kill Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

The genocide began after the Rwandan president's plane was mysteriously shot down over Kigali as he returned home from peace talks with Tutsi-led rebels. Hours after the crash, the Interahamwe set up roadblocks across Kigali and began killing Tutsis and moderate Hutus, which only ended after Tutsi rebels invaded from neighboring Uganda and drove out the genocidal forces. In 1997 the UN set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Tanzania.