The former Rwandan military officer Theoneste Bagosora dies at the age of 80 years he was born on the 16th of August 1941 and passed on the 25th of September 2021.
He was chiefly known for his key role in the massacre of some 800,000 people in the 1994 genocide who died in Mali, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). In 2011, the sentence was reduced to 35 years’ imprisonment on appeal.
The Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) had accused Theoneste Bagosora, who at the time was 67 of being in charge of the troops and Interahamwe Hutu militia who butchered 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days.
He was due to be imprisoned until he was 89. He died in Mali, in a prison hospital due to heart disease where he was serving his sentence. His son Achille told the BBC he died at a hospital in Bamako, where he was being treated for heart issues.
The massacres began after a plane carrying Rwanda’s then-President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down on 6 April 1994, killing everyone on board.
Bagosora was arrested two years later in Cameroon, where he had fled to after Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front seized power.
In 2008, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found him guilty of crimes against humanity, and for orchestrating the murder of several political figures, including Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana.
At his trial, Bagosora maintained he was a victim of propaganda by Rwanda’s current Tutsi-dominated government.
Canadian General Romeo Dallaire, head of the UN’s peacekeeping force during the genocide, described Bagosora as the “kingpin” behind the killings, and alleged that the former colonel had threatened to kill him.