Category: Mass Murder
Crime: During a campaign lasting just 100 days, Kambanda's military orchestrated the mass killings of hundred's of thousands of Rwanda's opposition party after he assumed power in 1994. He is serving life imprisonment after pleading guilty to genocide in front of an International Criminal Tribunal, the first ever political leader who had ever pleaded guilty of such crimes.
Biography: Jean Kambanda was born October 19, 1955 and for much of his life was involved in anything but political activity. He spent his youth working hard at his studies and eventually earned his degree in commercial engineering, landing an entry-level job in a bank. He worked his way up through the ranks of leadership at the bank to eventually be named Chairman. By this time, his political motivations were more prevalent as well, and by 1994, he was serving as the vice president of the 'MDR', the opposition party to the regime in power. After the assassination of the President and Prime Minister in April 1994, Kambanda wrestled control of the party from several other contenders and was surprisingly sworn in as Prime Minister on April 9, 1994. Over the next 100 days, the military conducted the sweeping massacre of opposition supporters. On July 19, 1994 Kambanda left office and fled the country. He remained in hiding until his arrest in July of 1997. During his trial, his lawyer presented his defense as that of a 'puppet of the military', plucked from his job as a banker to serve as a de-facto leader of the country while the military ran the genocide campaign. Observers believe that this is a plausible sequence of events, however, it was rejected by the Tribunal and he was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity.