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Theoneste Bagosora, a former Rwandan army colonel considered the architect of the 1994 genocide in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and ethnic Hutus who tried to protect them were killed, died on Saturday in a hospital in Mali.

KIGALI, Rwanda – Theoneste Bagosora, a former Rwandan army colonel believed to be the architect of the 1994 genocide in which more than 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus trying to protect them were killed, died in a hospital on Saturday from Mali.

Bagosora was serving a 35-year sentence after being convicted of crimes against humanity by the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Bagosora, 80, was sentenced to life in 2008, but on appeal his sentence was reduced to 35 years in prison.

Known as a hard-line supporter within Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana’s National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development party, Bagosora was appointed in 1993 as chief of staff at the Ministry of Defense and took control of military and military affairs. policies of the country.

The position made him accountable only to the president. When the president died in a plane crash, Bagosora took over state affairs and ordered the massacre of Tutsis, a genocide survivor who knew him told The Associated Press Donat Rutayisire.

Canadian General Roméo Dallaire, head of the United Nations peacekeepers in Rwanda at the time, described Bagosora as the “backbone” behind the genocide.

After the genocide, Bagosora went into exile in Cameroon. He was arrested there in 1996 and flown to stand trial in Arusha, Tanzania, in 1997. His trial began in 2002 and lasted until 2007.

Bagosora was found guilty of the murder of 10 Belgian peacekeepers and responsible for the death of the Rwandan prime minister and head of the constitutional court. He was also found responsible for the organized killings of Tutsis in numerous sites in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and in Gisenyi in the west of the country.

Reacting to the news of Bagosora’s death, Rwandan Ambassador to the Netherlands Olivier Nduhungirehe said Bagosora had no remorse for his crimes.

Bagosora’s request for early release was dismissed earlier this year after the judge ruled that he had failed to demonstrate his pardon.

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ABC News

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