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Callixte Nzabonimana

Arrested on 18 February 2008 in Tanzania. Sentenced to life by the ICTR on 31 May 2012 for genocide.
Minister of Youth and Sports

Callixte Nzabonimana was born in 1953 in Nyabikenke, Gitarama prefecture, Rwanda. He was Minister of Planning from 15 January 1989 to 4 February 1991, in the successive "multi-party" government formed on 31 December 1991, and the second "multi-party" government formed on 16 April 1992. On 9 April 1994, he was appointed Minister of Youth in the Interim Government, a position he held until mid-July 1994. In this capacity, he was responsible for policies adopted by the government with respect to youth affairs. He exercised authority and control over all of the institutions and personnel of his ministry. Moreover, he was a Minister within the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), the presidential party. In this capacity he exercised influence over the mayors and militias in Gitarama prefecture.

From late 1990 until July 1994, Nzabonimana was said to have participated in a plan with the intent to exterminate the civilian Tutsi population. The components of this plan included recourse to hatred and ethnic violence, the training of and distribution of weapons to militias as well as the preparation of lists of people to be eliminated. In the preparation of this plan he was said to have organized, ordered and participated in the massacres.

From April to July 1994, Nzabonimana was reported to have publicly incited hatred and violence against the Tutsi. For example, between 24 April and 14 July 1994, Nzabonimana allegedly went, alone or with others, to several prefectures in order to incite and encourage the population to carry out killings, notably by congratulating the perpetrators.

Between 9 April and 14 April 1994, numerous assemblies of the Council of Ministers were held. During this period, Nzabonimana was regularly briefed on the situation concerning the massacres. On several occasions during these meetings, he was reported to have made demands for weapons to be distributed in his prefecture, knowing that they would be used for the killings.

According to the indictment, from April to July 1994, Nzabonimana, by virtue of his position, his statements, the orders and directives he handed down, as well as by his acts and omissions, exercised full authority over the local authorities and the Interahamwe (an extremist Hutu militia). From 6 April 1994, these authorities and militiamen, in conspiracy with the army, and with the full knowledge of Nzabonimana, committed massacres of the Tutsi population and the moderate Hutus which became widespread throughout the Rwandan territory. Furthermore, from 7 April 1994, in following the orders and directives of Nzabonimana, the Interahamwe, the military and the gendarmerie were said to have carried out massacres of the Tutsi population.

Between April and July 1994, the mayors of Gitarama, who had refused the government's directives to massacre the Tutsi, or those who had shown insufficient zeal in the execution of these directives, as was the case in many other regions, were severely reprimanded, and even on occasions attacked in front of their citizens, then dismissed or, worse yet, physically eliminated.

During the events of 1994, Nzabonimana played a major role in the massacres of the Tutsi in Gitarama prefecture. He visited the mayors frequently to organise the massacres in their communes with them. Further, he personally travelled throughout the hills along with local farmers to be certain the farmers were carrying out properly their orders to kill the Tutsis.

Knowing that massacres of the civilian population were being committed, the political and military authorities including Callixte Nzabonimana, took no measures to stop them. On the contrary, they refused to intervene to control and appeal to the population as long as a ceasefire had not been declared.

Nzabonimana fled Rwanda in July 1994, faced with the advance of the troops of the RPR (Rwandan Patriotic Front, an opposition movement composed essentially of Tutsi refugees and led by Paul Kagame).

Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Fact sheet

Rwanda 1953 Arusha, Tanzania 1990  - 07.1994 0
War crimes
Crimes against humanity


Aucun témoin ne doit survivre
Alison Des Forges et al.
Kein Zeuge darf überleben
Alison Des Forges et al.
Conspiracy to murder
Linda Melvern

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