Rwandan General Marcel Gatsinzi has died age of 75 in Brussels where he was undergoing treatment.
Gatsinzi who died this March 7 was Rwanda’s Minister of Defence from 2002 to 2010 and later on served as the Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs from 2010 to 2013 when he retired from the army.
General Gatsinzi was born on 9 January 1948 in Kigali. He started his formal education at Collège Saint-André in Nyamirambo, Kigali, where he graduated with a diploma in 1968.
His military career began at the Kigali Military Academy in the same year, and he was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 31 March 1970.
He pursued his military career courses in Belgium at Heverlee (Louvain) in the School of Logistics in 1971 and in Brussels at the Royal High Institute of Defence from 1974 to 1976. That came before his training at the school of officers (ESM) back home.
By the time the Genocide against Tutsi happened, General Gatsinzi was commander of the military training School (ESSO) in the current Huye District.
Beside the military assignments in the Rwandan Army, Gatsinzi served in the African Union Neutral Military Observer Group set by the Organization of African Unity (OAU)- to monitor the ceas fire during the period of the negotiations between the Government and the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) He also participated in the negotiations process.
During the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, he served as Army Chief of Staff of the former Rwanda Armed Force (FAR) and because he advocated a more moderate approach and opposed expansion of the genocide, he was removed from the post and was replaced by Augustin Bizimungu.
Afterwards he was promoted to brigadier general and assigned to negotiate with the RPF and “other duties that did not involve direct command of troops”.
After the genocide, Gatsinzi was integrated into the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) where he eventually served as minister of Defence.