March 1, 2013 / 2:05 PM / in 6 years

Dutch court jails Rwandan woman for incitement to genocide

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - A Dutch court on Friday sentenced a Rwandan-born Dutch citizen to six years and eight months in jail for inciting genocide two decades ago.

Judges said Yvonne Besabya, 66, had stoked hatred against her ethnic Tutsi neighbors before Rwanda’s 1994 genocide in which 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

The conviction, which was secured under universal jurisdiction - the principle that countries have the right to try the most heinous crimes wherever they were committed - was the first for genocide in a Dutch court since World War Two.

District court judges acquitted Besabya, a Hutu, of all other charges, including perpetrating genocide, murder and war crimes. They said Besabya, the wealthy wife of a Rwandan lawmaker, had used her influence to incite her Hutu neighbors to violence against Tutsis.

“In the years leading up to the genocide, Hutus were systematically incited to violence against Tutsis,” Presiding Judge Rene Elkerbout said, reading the verdict.

“The accused embraced and propagated this extreme racist ideology and used her influence to contribute to an atmosphere of violence,” he said. “The accused repeatedly committed the crime of publicly calling for ...genocide.”

Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Rosalind Russell

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