Malian officials say that a former Rwandan army colonel accused of directing the slaughter of 800,000 people during the 1994 genocide has died in prison in Mali.
Theoneste Bagosora was serving a 35-year sentence after being convicted of crimes against humanity by the then International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). From life in prison, his sentence had been reduced.
He was over 80 years old, was seriously ill, and had heart problems. He had undergone three surgeries and died in a clinic today, a source in Mali’s prison administration confirmed to newsmen.
According to a second source at Bamako’s Court of Appeal, the death has been confirmed.
After President Juvenal Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down in 1994, prosecutors accused Bagosora, the then cabinet director in the defence ministry, of taking control of political and military affairs in the central African country.
According to the Tanzania-based tribunal, Bagosora was in charge of the troops and the Interahamwe Hutu militia that killed some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days.
Gen. Romeo Dallaire, head of UN peacekeepers during the genocide, called Bagosora the “kingpin” of the killings and said the former colonel had threatened to kill him.