According to Malian officials, a former Rwandan army colonel accused of masterminding the slaughter of 800,000 people during the 1994 genocide has died in prison.
Theoneste Bagosora was serving a 35-year sentence after the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found him guilty of crimes against humanity (ICTR). His sentence had been reduced from life in prison to life in prison.
“It is confirmed. He was over 80 years old, he was seriously ill, with heart troubles. He was hospitalised several times and had three surgeries. He died today in a clinic,” a source in Mali’s prison administration who sought anonymity told Reuters.
A second source at Bamako’s Court of Appeal confirmed the death.
Prosecutors accused Bagosora, then a cabinet director in the defence ministry, of seizing control of the country’s military and political affairs after President Juvenal Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down in 1994.
Bagosora was accused by the Tanzania-based tribunal of commanding the troops and Interahamwe Hutu militia that killed 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days.
General Romeo Dallaire of Canada, who led United Nations peacekeepers during the genocide, described Bagosora as the “kingpin” behind the killings and claimed the former colonel threatened to kill him.