Jean Kambanda was born on 19 October 1955. He holds a diploma in engineering and was Director of the Union of Popular Banks of Rwanda from May 1989 to April 1994. Vice President of the Democratic Republican Movement (MDR), he became Prime Minister of the caretaker government of Rwanda on 8 April 1994, two days after the attack on President Juvenal Habyarimana's plane. Kambanda is married with two children.
Jean Kambanda's main role during the time he was Prime Minister consisted in intervening publicly in the name of the government. He was held to be criminally responsible because of his alleged direct participation in the commission of crimes and also because he did not intervene to stop them as he should have done since he held de facto and de jure control over senior civil servants and military officers..
As far as his direct participation is concerned, Jean Kambanda was accused of handing out weapons and ammunition in the Butare and Gitarama prefectures being perfectly aware that these weapons would be used to perpetrate massacres against civilians. He also demonstrated his involvement in direct and public incitation to commit such massacres by his support of the broadcasted calls to r murder and by the distribution of weapons and ammunition to the militias.
As far as his indirect participation is concerned, Jean Kambanda was accused of abusing his authority and the trust of the civilian population by omitting to take the necessary reasonable measures to prevent his subordinates from committing law and order violations. He presided over several Ministerial meetings during which the massacres were actively followed and discussed without taking the necessary decisions to have them stopped.
Jean Kambanda was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya on 18 July 1997 and transferred to the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (ICTR) on the same day.