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Judgment, 14 Feb 2013, District Court of Oslo, Norway

Ríos Montt

Summary of Situation and Cases, 20 May 2013, Constitutional Court of Guatemala, Tribunal Primero A, Guatemala

General Efraín Ríos Montt was a former head of state of Guatemala.

In 2007, Montt was elected for a seat in the Congress. In 2012, his term of office as a member of the Congress came to an end. As a result, his immunity (heads of states are given protection from being suit without their consent) was lifted. Complaints were brought against Ríos Montt for crimes that resulted in the deaths of 1,771 indigenous Ixil people during his 17-month rule.

On 10 May 2013, Ríos Montt was found guilty of crimes committed against the indigenous Mayan population between 1960 and 1996 and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. On 20 May 2013, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court annulled the decision and set back the trial to the proceedings of 19 April 2013.

Ríos Montt is the first former head of state to be convicted of genocide by a court in his own country.


Judgment , 11 Jun 2010, Porvoo District Court (now District Court of Itä-Uusimaa), Finland


Judgment, 16 Jun 1999, Tribunal of First Instance of Kibungo (Sake) (Special Chamber), Rwanda

François Twahirwa was a government official in Rukumberi. During the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, Twahirwa had engaged in organising, inciting and supervising the genocide. He had led meetings where the murder of Tutsi was the objective, he had given instructions to others to kill Tutsi and supervised the operations. Twahirwa was an advisor to the Minister of Public Service and member of the MRND political party and as such, was aware of the fact that Tutsi were being pursued and exterminated throughout the country.

He was charged with genocide, crimes against humanity, being a member, organiser and leader of a criminal organisation, premeditated murder, damage to property, committing an attack with the objective of devastation, pillage or slaughter and non-assistance to persons in danger.

The Court concluded that Twahirwa was “an organizer, inciter, supervisor and one who enlisted others”, and found evidence that he directed others to commit genocide and that he possessed the specific intent necessary for the crime of genocide. The Court convicted Twahirwa of genocide, criminal association and attacks with the objective of devastation, pillage or slaughter. He was acquitted from the other charges due to lack of evidence, but this did not help him: he was sentenced to death.

Nahimana et al.

Judgement and Sentence, 3 Dec 2003, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Trial Chamber I), Tanzania

The three Accused – Ferdinand Nahimana, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza and Hassan Ngeze - were charged in separate indictments but were tried jointly for their role in the Rwandan genocide. They were all charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and persecution and extermination as crimes against humanity. Nahimana and Barayagwiza were additionally charged murder as a crime against humanity, while Barayagwiza was also charged with war crimes.

On 3 December 2003, Trial Chamber I of the ICTR found the three Accused guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and persecution and extermination as crimes against humanity. They were found not guilty of complicity in genocide and of murder as a crime against humanity. Barayagwiza was also acquitted of the charges for war crimes. The Chamber sentenced Nahimana and Ngeze to life imprisonment. Regarding Barayagwiza, the Chamber considered that the appropriate sentence was life imprisonment, but, in its decisions dated 31 March 2000, the Appeals Chamber had decided that for the violation of his rights, the Accused was entitled to a reduction of his sentence, if he was found guilty. Therefore, the Trial Chamber sentenced him to twenty-seven years, three months and twenty-one days. 

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