The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on April 3, 2000 · Page 12
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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia · Page 12

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Monday, April 3, 2000
Page 12
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WORLD MONDAY 3 APRIL 2000 THE AGE Death for eight over Rwanda's genocide KIGALI A Rwandan court has sentenced eight people to death and 14 to prison terms for their role in the 1994 genocide in which up to 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered. Rwandan state radio said the sentences were handed down on Friday by a court in Gisuma, in the south-western commune of Cynangugu. Twenty-eight people had been accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity between April and July 1 994. Six of those were acquitted. Those sentenced to death included the former Mayor of Gisuma, Theoneste Rukeratabar, and a school inspector. The radio said that of those receiving prison terms, seven were jailed for life, three received 20-year terms, two 15-year terms and two 11 -year sentences. In addition, those convicted were ordered to pay $500,000 to 30 victims who have made claims. Rwanda began a week of mourning on Saturday for victimsof the genocide carried out by Hutu extremists in just 100 days of carnage that shocked the world. All national flags were lowered to half-mast as were those over foreign delegations, and will remain so until 7 April the day on which the massacres began. National radio and television will broadcast debates and documentaries devoted to the genocide of Rwanda's Tutsi minority and Hutu moderates opposed to the extremist elements that briefly seized power. A national commemoration ceremony is due to take place on 7 April in Gisozi, in the Kigali district, where the remains of several victims will be laid to rest in a new memorial. Rwandan prisons hold more than 120,000 people accused of various crimes during the genocide. So far, 2500 people have been tried with 300 sentenced to death. The UN has also set up an international tribunal to try Rwandan suspects in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. Unlike Rwandan courts, it does not issue death sentences. AFP, REUTERS f J f 3 J 0 Movement leaders (from left) Ursala Komuhangi, Credonia Mwerinde, leader Joseph Kibwetere and Dominic Kataribaabo. Picture: reuters Cult leader said to have stolen funds A missing founder had a love of monev and a gift for manipulation. By PHILIP SHERWELL KANUNGU. UGANDA The stench of death strikes long before you near the freshly churned mounds of red soil in southwestern Uganda. The catalogue of corpses is approaching 1000, most of them women and children. Almost 400 have been exhumed from four fetid mass graves, and up to 600 are thought to have been incinerated in the inferno that two weeks ago destroyed the tin-roofed church of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God. The reason that the leaders of the sect launched their pogrom is a mystery. But it has become apparent that the true power behind the cult lay not with its titular head, the self-styled bishop loseph Kibwetere, but with Credonia Mwerinde, a charismatic and calculating former prostitute with a love of money and a gift for manipulation. Sister Credonia was known to be one of the triumvirate leading the movement the third figure was Father Dominic Kataribaabo, a defrocked pastor under whose bedroom and garden 155 bodies were found buried. But only now is it possible to understand the extent of her domination over the sect and over Kibwetere and Kataribaabo. Uganda's police have no idea whether the cult's leaders are alive or dead. But while some people claim to have recognised the charred corpses of the two men in the gutted church in Kanungu, there is no sign that the plump Sister Credonia, 48, perished in the blaze. Instead, she is thought to have made her getaway with the sect's funds. Father Paul Ikazire, a priest who spent three years as one of the cult's leaders before returning to the Roman Catholic Church, recalls how Sister Credonia dominated the sect. "The meetings were chaired by Sister Credonia, who was the de facto head of the cult," he said. "I perceived her as a trickster, obsessed with the desire to grab other people's property. She told her followers to sell their property, but she never sold hers." Sister Credonia was also responsible for imposing a ruthless daily regimen on the devotees. They would be woken before sunrise to perform rites and be instructed on her apocalyptic teachings, then forced to work from dawn until dusk in the fields, with only a cup of porridge in the morning and a plate of beans at night. A strict code of silence was also enforced. Followers could only recite prayers or sing hymns. This brutal way of life turned her followers many of them illiterate peasants when they joined into a cowed, half-starved, sleep-deprived flock ripe for brain-washing. Uganda has a history of extremist cults, so converts would not have thought it strange to be ordered to sell their possessions and hand the cash over to the church. But Sister Credonia was no believer in practising what she preached. She gained weight during her years of leading the sect. "The only thing that made Credonia really happy was making money," her sixth and last husband, Kric Mazima, said. She used to run a business selling illicit banana beer and spirits, but ran into financial difficulties in 1988. A few weeks later, she claimed to have had a vision of the Virgin Mary who told her the world must live by the Ten Commandments. He believes the only vision Credonia had was of a new way to make money. TELEGRAPH km? M Missing: Credonia Mwerinde, founder of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God. picture: ap 'Illegal' Angolan trial stirs uproar By ED O'LOUGHLIN JOHANNESBURG An Angolan journalist has been sentenced to sue months' jail for criticising President Hduardo dos Santos, after a trial that international rights groups have condemned. Mr Rafael Marques was convicted of criminally defaming the president in a newspaper article last year, despite claims that the trial was deeply flawed. His arrest and detention last October had no basis in Angolan law. The act under which he was tried is claimed to be incompatible with the country's constitution. The Open Society Initiative, a free-speech group that employed Mr Marques as its Angolan coordinator, has complained that the trial was held in secret, that Mr Marques was not allowed to call witnesses and that his lawyer was sacked by the judge, alleged to be a former secret policeman with no known legal qualifications. The Open Society Initiative's founder is Mr George Soros, the prominent international financier. "These proceedings were conducted without any legal basis," Mr Soros said. "They expose the rule of law in Angola as nothing but a charade." Mr Marques's newspaper article claimed President dos Santos was a dictator who presided.over a corrupt regime. Reports from inside the court said Judge loaquim de Abreu Cangato held that Mr Marques's words were a personal attack on the president and thus illegal. The controversial law under which Mr Marques, 28, was charged makes it illegal for a libel defendant to try to prove the truth of his statements when their target is a government official. It also allows the judge to hold the trial in secret. Observers from Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect lournalists and the US and Portuguese embassies were among those forced to leave the courtroom last week. Courtroom sources said the defendant was allowed to call only one witness after his lawyer was suspended for walking out of court when the judge refused to allow him to read an appeal on to the records. AnsettAustralia A STAR ALLIANCE MEMBER" Ansett's Valet Parking and E-ticket are designed to get you in and out of the terminal as quickly as possible. And our digital Mobile Messaging J': -a M S 'a. I Jt - . .: .. I. . . . aer-vice. anexner Mnseit nrsc, can warn you in aavance aoouu Tiignt delays or disruptions. ' , - And hit the' air running. ::j,'v';::l:'..'Go your own way.- Call 13 13 00 or, visit '. Vr:'. 8S '( j r A ferial IT' '1 h o -j-i h " 0 o t 2 11 v. &&.mf Tim If m

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