Prosecutor v. Bagosora et al.

Citation: ICTR-98-41

Link to the full case: http://unictr.irmct.org/en/cases/ictr-98-41

Date of Trial Judgment: 18 December 2008

Date of Appeals Judgments: 14 December 2011 and 18 May 2012


This case tried the following individuals for their role in facilitating the Rwandan military’s commission of massacres and other atrocities across Rwanda in April and June 1994:

  • Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, the former Director of the Cabinet of the Rwandan Ministry of Defense

  • General Gratien Kabiligi, the former Head of the Operations Bureau of the Rwandan Army General Staff

  • Major Aloys Ntabakuze, the former commander of the elite Para Commando Battalion, and Colonel, the former Commander of the Gisenyi Operational Sector

They were charged with direct and superior responsibility for conspiracy to commit genocide; genocide; crimes against humanity for acts of murder, extermination, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts; and war crimes for acts of violence to life and outrages upon personal dignity. Nsengiyumva was also charged with direct and superior responsibility for incitement to commit genocide.


In 2008, the ICTR Trial Chamber found that Bagosora was responsible as a superior for the killings of 16 individuals, including Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian peacekeepers; rapes perpetrated at roadblocks in Kigali; crimes committed at several religious and community centres in Kigali Prefecture; and killings in Gisenyi Prefecture. It also found that Bagosora was directly responsible for the murder of Augustin Maharangari as well as the killings committed at roadblocks in Kigali Prefecture. The Trial Chamber convicted Bagosora of genocide; crimes against humanity for acts of murder, extermination, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts; and war crimes for acts of violence to life and outrages upon dignity.


The Trial Chamber found that Ntabakuze was responsible as a superior for crimes committed in Kigali Prefecture in April 1994. It convicted him of genocide; crimes against humanity for acts of murder, extermination, persecution, and other inhumane acts; and war crimes.


The Trial Chamber found that Nsengiyumva was directly responsible for ordering the targeted killings in Gisenyi Prefecture and for aiding and abetting the attacks that took place in Bisesero area in Kibuye. It convicted him of genocide; crimes against humanity for acts of murder, extermination, persecution, and other inhumane acts; and war crimes for acts of violence to life.

The Trial Chamber acquitted Kabiligi on all counts after finding that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Kabiligi had exercised authority over the Rwandan Armed Forces in connection with the charges against him.


In 2011, the ICTR Appeals Chamber affirmed Bagosora’s convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. However, it reversed the Trial Chamber’s finding that Bagosora was responsible for the killings in Gisenyi Prefecture and for the killings of two named individuals and the 10 peacekeepers, for crimes committed during Kigali area roadblocks (finding him liable as a superior rather than directly), and for a several acts of murder and other inhumane acts in connection with crimes against humanity.


The Appeals Chamber also reversed the Trial Chamber’s finding that Nsengiyumba was directly responsible for killings in Gisenyi and Kibuye but found that Nsengiyumba was responsible as a superior for killings in Gisenyi, and the Appeals Chamber affirmed Nsengiyumba’s convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.


Further, the Appeals Chamber reduced Bagosora’s life sentence to 35 years imprisonment and reduced Nsengiyumba’s life sentence to 15 years imprisonment. In 2012, it affirmed the majority of Ntabakuze’s convictions for crimes committed in Kigali, but overturned his conviction for murder as a crime against humanity. It reduced Ntabakuze’s life sentence to 35 years’ imprisonment.


Summary based on notes from the IJRC