Pleaded guilty of crime against humanity (extermination) on 13 July 2007; sentenced to 11 years imprisonment on 16 November 2007; transferred to Cotonou, Benin, to serve the rest of his sentence on 27 June 2009.
Juvénal Rugambarara was born in 1959 in the commune of Tare in the Kigali-rural prefecture of Rwanda. He studied medicine and practised his profession in the medical centre of the Bicumbi commune. He was a well known and influential personality. On 4 August 1993, he was appointed mayor of the Bicumbi commune, in the Kigali-rural prefecture, succeeding Laurent Semanza, a close confidant who assured him of his political support. He held this position up until his departure from Rwanda in early summer 1994. In this position, he was the representative of executive power at the communal level. He exercised full authority over his subordinates and was in a position to exercise command over the police force.
From the end of 1990 until July 1994, Rugambarara was said to have participated in the development and execution of a plan, aimed at the extermination of the Tutsis in his commune. Amongst other elements, this plan included recourse to violence and ethnic hatred, training and distribution of arms to the militias as well as the establishment of lists of people to be eliminated. In carrying out this plan he reportedly organised, commanded and participated in the massacres.
Between 1 January and 30 April 1994, Rugambarara and other influential personalities, such as Laurent Semanza and Paul Bisengimana, were said to have held meetings during which they proffered threats against the Tutsis and those people who were not members of the National Republican Movement for Development and Democracy (MRND, the presidential party).
In April 1994, Rugambarara and others were also said to have participated in private meetings at the home of Paul Bisengimana, during which Rugambarara was reportedly informed about plans concerning attacks against the Musha church and the commune of Gikoro, and was said to have approved these plans.
From the beginning of 1994, Rugambarara and other influential personalities allegedly recruited young men who were subsequently trained and provoked into committing acts of genocide against the Tutsis. Furthermore, Rugambarara was said to have taken a part in the military education of the Interahamwe and to have been in charge of their training in Nzige. He was even reported to have participated in shooting practice.
From April 1994, Rugambarara, was alleged to have a stock of arms in his office and to have overseen the distribution of these arms to the Interahamwe. On 7 April, 1994, around 15 hrs, Rugambarara was said to have distributed firearms to the Interahamwe, and to have led them to Ngize where he reportedly gave the order to begin the massacres of the Tutsis before taken part himself in the killings.
On 8 April 1994, during the attack launched against the Tutsis in the Nawe sector, Rugambarara was said to have gone there in a vehicle filled with machetes and to have incited the crowd present, to fight the Tutsis. During this attack, acts of rape on Tutsi woman were reported to have been committed by the Interahamwe under orders from Rugambarara.
Towards 9 April 1994, Rugambarara and others allegedly attacked refugees in Rwamagana with rifles and hand grenades, and caused the death of at least 15 people.
From 10 April 1994, Tutsi refugees assembled on the Munini hill in the Mwulire sector. On the same day, they were attacked by the Interahamwe who reportedly were led there by Rugambarara. The attacks continued on a daily basis during a whole week and Rugambarara was said to have organised reinforcements of additional Interahamwe militiamen and other elements of the presidential guard. By 18 April 1994 the quasi totality of these refugees had been slaughtered.
On 11 April 1994, attacks against the Tutsis continued in the Rubona sector and Rugambarara, in his capacity as mayor, did nothing to prevent them or to punish the perpetrators.
On 12 April 1994, Rugambarara, was said to have requested help from the camp at Kanombe and reportedly received G3 type Kalachnikovs as well as hand grenades which were distributed to Interahamwe chiefs in the commune. On the same day, at about 17.00 hrs Rugambarara reportedly led the Interahamwe to the home of the councillor for the Rubona sector. About an hour after the arrival of Rugambarara and the Interahamwe, an attack was allegedly launched against the Tutsis of the commune and was to continue for several weeks. During this attack, acts of rape on Tutsi women were committed, notably by the Interahamwe.
Between 9 and 13 April 1994, Rugambarara, in his capacity as mayor, was reported to have closely collaborated with others in organising the transportation of the military, the Interahamwe, arms and fuel in order to carry out massacres in Musha parish in Gikoro commune, where several thousand people had taken refuge from the killings being carried out in their region. On 13 April 1994, the killings began in the Musha church and the quasi totality of the refugees were slaughtered. Rugambarara was present during the attacks and watched as events unfolded. He took no measures to put a stop to these attacks. On the same date, together with Laurent Semanza and Paul Bisengimana, he was said to have drawn up lists of certain refugees in the church, who were singled out later to be tortured and killed by them personally. After the killings in the Musha church on 13 April 1994, Rugambarara, Semanza and Bisengimana were said to have sent for trucks to transport the bodies for burial in mass graves.
On 18 June, Rugambarara, Semanza and Bisengimana allegedly held meetings with the Interahamwe to discuss the massacre of the Tutsis in refuge in the Gikoro church, an event which subsequently took place.
In early summer 1994, confronted with the advance of the troops of the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front, an opposition movement composed essentially of Tutsi refugees and led by Paul Kagame), Rugambarara fled Rwanda in the direction of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1997, he reportedly went to Uganda where he became a tobacco farmer and lived under a false name Juvénal Rugambarara was arrested by Interpol on request of the Chief Prosecutor of the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda), on 11 August 2003 in Uganda. On 13 August 2003, he was transferred to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.