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Paris court sentences Rwanda genocide suspect

A Paris court has given a Rwandan former soldier a 25-year jail sentence for genocide and crimes against humanity during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

It was the first trial in France to punish those responsible for the three-month wave of violence.

Pascal Simbikangwa, 54, described by prosecutors as a former army captain who rose to become the No 3 in Rwanda’s intelligence services, rejected the charges against him during the trial which culminated in Friday’s sentencing.

Up to 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus died in the bloodletting.

Simbikangwa, arrested in 2008 on the French island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, was initially accused of complicity in genocide and complicity in war crimes in 1994, but not of personally killing anyone.

He has used a wheelchair since being injured in the mid-1980s, before the mass slaughter.

During the six-week trial, Simbikangwa said he was the victim of a “witch-hunt” orchestrated by the now ruling Tutsis.

Riot police encircled about 10 activists who shouted “France was complicit in Rwanda’s genocide!” as they tried to demonstrate outside the courthouse in Paris on Friday.

They did not have the proper permit, and were escorted away, officials said.

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