The United States welcomes the June 24 International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) conviction of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Rwandan Minister of Women’s Development and her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, both of whom were convicted for genocide and rape as a crime against humanity, among other crimes. The court also convicted former civilian officials Sylvain Nsabimana, Joseph Kanyabashi and Élie Ndayambaje and former Lt. Colonel Alphonse Nteziryayo, as part of the same indictment. The court sentenced Nyiramasuhuko, Ntahobali and Ndayambaje to life imprisonment, and Kanyabashi, Nteziryayo and Nsabimana to 35, 30 and 25 years respectively.
This ruling is an important step in providing justice and accountability for the Rwandan people and the international community. 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 was convicted for her role in aiding and abetting rapes and for her responsibility as a superior who ordered rapes committed by members of the Interahamwe militia.
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.