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Rwandan Court Convicts 105 People on Genocide Charges - 2003-08-01

More than 100 people have been convicted by a Rwandan court for their involvement in the 1994 genocide in the largest such trial held in Rwanda to date.

The French news agency, AFP, reports 105 people have received severe sentences for their participation in the 1994 genocide, in which an estimated one million mostly Tutsis were killed.

Of those convicted, 11 reportedly received the death penalty, while 73 others will be in jail for life. A total of 140 are on trial.

The trial began Thursday in the town of Gikonko, in the Butare Province south of the capital Kigali.

Prosecutor General for Rwanda, Gerald Gahima, told VOA the charges against the defendants included genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and various offenses against the penal code. "The sentences range from an acquittal to the death penalty," he said. "There's a very wide range."

Mr. Gahima said genocide trials have been going on in Rwanda since 1996, but this trial is the biggest. He said 80,000 genocide suspects are currently in Rwandan jails, while 25,000 suspects were released earlier this year.

According to Mr. Gahima, 6,500 people have been convicted of crimes related to genocide to date, while up to 700 people have been sentenced to death. Of these, 23 have been executed.