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Ex-Rwanda minister jailed for life on genocide and rape counts

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Nyiramasuhuko was minister for the family and women's affairs at the time of the mass killing
  • Some 800,000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsis, died in the violence

(CNN) -- A former Rwandan minister has been jailed for life for genocide and incitement to rape at the United Nations-backed court for Rwanda.

Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who is one of the first women to be charged with genocide, was minister for the family and women's affairs in the Rwandan government when some 800,000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsis, were killed in 1994.

She was accused of direct and public incitement to commit genocide and of being responsible for rape "as part of a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population on political, ethnic and racial grounds," the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda said.

The former minister was arrested in 1997 in Nairobi, Kenya, and taken to the U.N. court in Tanzania to await trial.

Her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, and four local officials were jointly charged with counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. Judgements against them were also expected Friday.

The Rwandan genocide was triggered by the April 6, 1994, shooting down of a plane carrying the nation's Hutu president.

Ethnic violence erupted and Tutsis were killed systematically by Hutus.

The United Nations estimates that some 200,000 people participated in the perpetration of the Rwandan genocide.

In all, 800,000 men, women, and children -- mostly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus -- died.