Serushago, Omar

Over the course of the genocide from 6 April until July 1994, Omar Serushago was de facto leader of the Interahamwe militia in Gisenyi, and participated in the search for and killing of Tutsi civilians. Serushago was accused of participating in several attacks on civilians, including moderate Hutus opposed to the extremist Hutu Power ideology.

According to an Indictment of 8 October 1998, Serushago was charged with genocide and four counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, torture and rape). The Prosecutor alleged that Serushago and the militias he commanded killed scores of civilians, including around 300 refugees who they forced to leave a parish before executing them in public. Omar Serushago voluntarily surrendered to the Ivorian authorities in 1998.

At his first appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Serushago pleaded guilty to four of the five counts in the Indictment. Consequently, the fifth count, rape as a crime against humanity, was removed by the Prosecutor and Serushago was convicted on 5 February 1999 and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. Serushago lodged an appeal against the sentence, arguing that insufficient account had been taken of the mitigating circumstances in the case. Nevertheless, on 14 February 2000, the Appeals Chamber confirmed his sentence.

Research/ miscellaneous (Research Document)
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