- Special Pages
THE HAGUE: A court in the Netherlands yesterday jailed Rwandan-born Yvonne Basebya for inciting genocide in the central African nation in 1994, the first such conviction by a Dutch court.
“The court orders the suspect jailed for six years and eight months,” judge Rene Elkerbout said, acquitting her of other charges including war crimes and genocide perpetration.
Basebya, 66, faced a total of six charges before The Hague’s district court for her role in the slaughter of almost a million people, committed by Hutu extremists against Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
Prosecutors had called for her to be jailed for life.
“She incited unfortunate youngsters to commit murder against Tutsis during meetings, as evidenced by the song she sang, ‘Tuba Tsembe Tsembe’, which means ‘let’s exterminate them all’,” judge Elkerbout said.
“The fact that she called for hatred is not sufficient to call her a co-perpetrator,” of the slaughter of 110 Tutsis hiding in the Pallotines Church, the judge said.
The infamous killings at the church just south of the capital Kigali were widely regarded as the first proof that a genocide was under way in Rwanda.
The mass killingswere sparked when the plane carrying Rwanda’s then-president Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, was shot down on April 6, 1994.
His death was subsequently blamed on Rwanda’s minority Tutsi population, and over the next three months some 800,000 people.