15 December 2011 The United Nations tribunal trying suspects connected to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda today reduced the sentences of two former senior officials found guilty in 2008 after a number of their convictions were overturned on appeal.
The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) reduced jail terms handed down in December 2008 to Théoneste Bagosora and Anatole Nsengiyumva from life in prison to 35 years and 15 years, respectively. Mr. Nsengiyumva was immediately set free following today’s ruling after receiving credit for time already served.
The trial chamber had found Mr. Bagosora and MrJudges in the appeals chamber reversed Mr. Nsengiyumva’s convictions for the killing of Alphonse Kabiligi, and the murders at Mudende University, Nyundo Parish, and Bisesero. It also overturned his convictions for murder as a crime against humanity.. Nsengiyumva guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions as well as for other crimes committed in April and June 1994 in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, and in the western prefectures of Gisenyi and Kibuye.
The appeals chamber affirmed Mr. Bagosora’s convictions for genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of some aspects of the Geneva Conventions. However, it reversed his convictions for the killing of Augustin Maharangari and Alphonse Kabiligi and the murder of international peacekeepers. He was also absolved of the killings in Gisenyi town, at Mudende University, and at Nyundo Parish.
The appeals chamber also set aside the trial court’s contention that Mr. Bagosora was responsible for ordering crimes committed at Kigali area roadblocks, but found him liable as a superior instead. It also reversed a number of Mr. Bagosora’s convictions for murder as a crime against humanity and for other inhumane acts as a crime against humanity for the defilement of the body of then Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana after she was murdered.
Judges in the appeals chamber reversed Mr. Nsengiyumva’s convictions for the killing of Alphonse Kabiligi, as well as for the murders at Mudende University, Nyundo Parish, and Bisesero. It also overturned his convictions for murder as a crime against humanity.
The appeal judges affirmed Mr. Nsengiyumva’s convictions for genocide and crimes against humanity in relation to the killings in Gisenyi town on 7 April 1994.
Mr. Bagosora was head of department in the Rwandan defence ministry at the time of the genocide. He was arrested in Cameroon on 9 March 1996 and will remain in the UN Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania, where the ICTR is based, pending transfer to another country to serve the rest of his term.
Mr. Nsengiyumva served as commander of the Gisenyi operational sector of the Rwandan army at the time. He was also arrested in Cameroon on 27 March 1996.
The appeals chamber today also heard oral testimony in the appeal of Ildephonse Hategekimana, a former lieutenant in the Rwanda army who was last year convicted of genocide for the killing of civilians and sentenced to life in prison.
Mr. Hategekimana, who was arrested in the Republic of Congo in 2003, contends that the trial chamber violated his fair trial rights and committed a number of other errors of fact and law in considering his case.
He has requested the appeals chamber to set aside or overturn his convictions and order his immediate release, or redress the alleged violations of his fair trial rights through a reduction of his sentence to time already served and order that he receive financial compensation.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue