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France delivers first genocide conviction

AP

A Paris court delivered France’s first-ever conviction for genocide Friday, sentencing a Rwandan former intelligence chief to 25 years in prison over the 1994 killings of at least 500,000 people in the African country.

The landmark trial of 54-year-old Pascal Simbikangwa sets off what could be the first of dozens of French trials into one of the 20th century’s greatest atrocities — two decades after it happened — and provides a judicial reckoning for a former colonial power that still has many ties to African countries like Mali, Central African Republic and beyond.

In a late-night verdict after 5½ weeks of trial, the nine-person jury found Simbikangwa guilty of genocide and complicity to crimes against humanity for killings in Kigali, the capital. It threw out other counts involving killings in the western town of Gisenyi. His defense lawyers said that on Saturday they would discuss with Simbikangwa whether to appeal.