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Rwanda genocide ‘mastermind’, Theoneste Bagosara is dead

A former senior Rwandan military officer, Theoneste Bagosora who was identified as a “mastermind” of the Rwanda genocide is dead.

The death was confirmed by his son, Achille Bagosora in a Facebook post over the weekend.

According to report, Bagosora died on Saturday in a prison in Mali at the age of 80.

In 1993, Bagosora was appointed cabinet director in the defence ministry.

After the country’s president, Juvenal Habyarimana, died in a plane crash in 1994, Bagosora took over the affairs of state and was said to have ordered the massacre of Tutsi, a minority ethnic group in the country.

The attacks were said to have left over eight million Rwandans murdered.

Romeo Dallaire, a Canadian general who was head of United Nations peacekeepers in Rwanda at the time, was said to have described Bagosora as the “kingpin” behind the genocide.

After the genocide, Bagosora fled into exile in Cameroon, where he was later arrested and flown to face trial in Arusha, Tanzania, in 1997. His trial began in 2002.

In December 2008, the international criminal court of Rwanda found Bagosora guilty in connection with the killing of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, 10 Belgian peacekeepers who had been guarding the prime minister at camp Kigali, Joseph Kavaruganda, president of the constitutional court, and three major opposition leaders.

He was also found to have been involved in orchestrating the mass killing of Tutsis in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, and in Gisenyi.

He was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The sentence was, however, reduced to 35 years imprisonment after some of the convictions were overturned in an appeal.

Bagosora’s application for early release was turned down on April 1, with the judge ruling that he had failed to demonstrate remorse.

Reacting to the news of Bagosora’s death in a Twitter post, Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s ambassador to the Netherlands, said Bagosora didn’t show remorse for his crimes.

“The main reasons against Bagosora’s request for early release were that he never accepted responsibility for genocide, showing no sign of remorse or regret; and that he is a man with a forceful personality who at times is unable to control himself,” Nduhungirehe said.

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