Gacumbitsi, Sylvestre

Sylvestre Gacumbitsi was the mayor (bourgmestre) of the commune of Rusumo in Rwanda in the lead up to the country’s genocide. In April 1994, Gacumbitsi led an attack on the Nyarubuye Parish, during which numerous Tutsi refugees were slaughtered. He distributed arms and organised meetings where he abetted the killings of the Tutsi population. Gacumbitsi exercised authority over his subordinates and instigated numerous rapes and sexual assaults on Tutsi women.

In its judgement of 17 June 2004, the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Gacumbitsi guilty of genocide and of crimes against humanity for rape and extermination. However, the court acquitted him in regards to the counts of crime against humanity for murder and complicity of genocide. He was subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison. Both the Defence and the Prosecutor lodged an appeal against the verdict. On 7 July 2006, the Appeals Chamber confirmed the Trial Chamber’s previous convictions but also found Gacumbitsi guilty of murder as a crime against humanity. His sentence was accordingly increased to life imprisonment.

Committing Genocide by Integral-Part Participation: The ICTR Appeals Chamber judgement in Prosecutor v. Seromba
Research/ miscellaneous (Research Document)
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