Rwandan ex-militia chief handed 25 years in jail over genocide

Jean Claude Iyamuremye convicted of crimes of genocide, leading Interahamwe militia during 1994 genocide.

Rwandan ex-militia chief handed 25 years in jail over genocide

Convicted of crimes of genocide, a former Rwandan militia chief was sentenced to 25 years in jail on Wednesday.

Extradited to the East African country by the Netherlands in 2016, Jean Claude Iyamuremye was convicted by Rwanda's High Court, a special chamber hearing international and transnational crimes.

The 46-year-old was accused of leading the Interahamwe militia in parts of the capital Kigali during the 1994 genocide and was an influential member of the ruling party at the time, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development.

In the Netherlands where he lived for 14 years, Iyamuremye, also known as Nzinga, reportedly worked as a taxi driver for the embassies of Israel and Finland before he was arrested in the town of Voorburg.

He was deported in 2016 for genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group, following an extradition request by Kigali.

Iyamuremye had tried to challenge the extradition request, arguing that his actions were not prohibited as such under Rwandan law in 1994.

He also claimed that Rwanda would not provide him with a fair trial. A Dutch court dismissed both arguments.

About 1 million people, mostly of the Tutsi community and moderate Hutus, were killed in the genocide by Hutu extremists during a massacre within a span of 100 days.