Gaspard Kanyarukiga was born in 1945 in the commune of Kivumu, Kibuye prefecture, Rwanda. At the time of the events, he was a businessman working in Kigali and Kivumu.
Following the assassination of the Rwandan President on 6 April 1994, attacks began to take place against the Tutsis in Kivumu commune, as elsewhere throughout Rwanda. In order to escape from these attacks the Tutsis sought refuge in public buildings and churches, including the church in Nyange. From10 April 1994, refugees from different sectors of the commune were gathered and transported to the parish of Nyange.
Kanyarukiga, together with Athanase Seromba, priest of the parish of Nyange, allegedly planned the massacre of some 2000 Tutsis in the Catholic Church in Nyange, Kibuye in April 1994.
On 16 April 1994, Kanyarukiga announced at a meeting that the church had to be demolished. The same day, on the orders of Kanyarukiga and other local dignitaries, the church was bulldozed with the refugees inside.
Gaspard Kanyarukiga was arrested on 16 July 2004 in South Africa and transferred to the prison quarters of the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) in Arusha, Tanzania on 19 July 2004.
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