Théoneste Bagosora

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Théoneste Bagosora
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Full Name: Théoneste Bagosora
Alias: "The Devil"
Origin: Western Province, Rwanda
Occupation: Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense
Commander of Camp Kanombe
Skills: Miltary training
acting as interim president by placing a hutu puppet which was Theodore Sindikubwabo
Hobby: Killing and torturing Tutsis
Goals: Eradicate all Tutsis in Rwanda (failed)
Crimes: War crimes
Genocide
Mass murder
Torture
Crimes against humanity
Type of Villain: Genocidal Warlord


I will unleash an apocalypse on the Tutsis.
~ Théoneste Bagosora

Théoneste Bagosora (born 16 August 1941) is a former Rwandan military officer. He is chiefly known for being one of the principal architects of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, during which an estimated 500,000 to more than 1,000,00 Tutsi, Twa, and moderate Hutus were slaughtered over the course of 100 days from April to July 1994.

Biography

Bagosora was born in Giciye in what is now Nyabihu District, Western Province, Rwanda. In 1964 he graduated from the École des officiers (Officers' School) in Kigali with the rank of second lieutenant, and continued his studies in France. During his military career, he served as second-in-command of the École supérieure militaire (Superior Military School) in Kigali and as commander of Kanombe military camp.

Bagosora was vehemently opposed to the signing of the Arusha Accords, and was quoted as saying that he wanted to "unleash an apocalypse" on all Tutsis. When he returned to Rwanda, he was appointed to the position of directeur du cabinet (chief of staff) in the Ministry of Defence in June 1992. It was during this period that he began planning the genocide.

Bagosora is believed to have ordered the missile strikes that shot down President Juvénal Habyarimana's plane (though this has never been definitively proven) and personally ordered the assassination of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. He also personally presided over the systematic torture and murder of ten Belgian UN peacekeepers, an act that lead to a majority of the UN to withdraw from Rwanda, effectively eroding the UN's ability to do anything to prevent the genocide.

With President Habyarimana and Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana out of the way and the UN's authority all but eliminated, Bagosora and his military advisers effectively took control of the government, installing Jean Kambanda as a puppet ruler while he held the real political power. Over the next 100 days, Bagosora directed the actions of both the Interahamwe and official army forces in slaughtering Tutsis all across Rwanda.

Bagosora was also responsible for distributing weapons and machetes throughout Rwanda to torment the Tutsi between January 1993 and March 1994, Rwanda imported more than 500,000 machetes, double the amount imported in previous years under his responsibility and for placing Theodore Sindikubwabo as interim president and Jean Kambanda as prime minister.

Bagosora fled the country in July after Kigali fell to the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front. Initially hiding out in Zaire, he later fled to Cameroon, where he was apprehended in 1997. He remained in the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for over a decade until being sentenced to life in prison in December 2008. In 2011, the sentence was reduced to 35 years' imprisonment on appeal, meaning Bagosora will remain imprisoned until he is 89 years old.

Trivia

  • Bagosora has frequently been compared to Heinrich Himmler, due to the fact that his role as one of the chief architects of the Rwandan Genocide was similar to Himmler's role as one of the chief architects of the Holocaust, as well as their similar roles in their respective military forces. Bagosora also allegedly described the Rwandan Genocide as the "Final Solution", a similar description to the Holocaust.
  • Roméo Dallaire, the United Nations' leading military observer in Rwanda during the entirety of the genocide, once described Bagosora as "the Devil Incarnate".