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UN War Crimes Tribunal Reduces Sentence of Rwandan

UN War Crimes Tribunal Reduces Sentence of Rwandan Militia Leader

New York, May 23 2005 1:00PM

The United Nations tribunal investigating the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda today reduced the life sentence of a Hutu militia leader convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and incitement to 45 years in prison because it found his rights had been violated during his arrest and detention before trial.

Juvenal Kajelijeli, the former bourgmestre (administrator) of Mukingo Commune, had been sentenced in December 2003 by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to two concurrent life terms for genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. At the same time, he received an additional 15 years for direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

The Tribunal's Appeals Chamber, however, found that there had been serious violations of Mr. Kajelijeli's fundamental rights during his arrest and detention in Benin and at the UN Detention Facility, from 5 June 1998 to 6 April 1999. It also vacated his conviction for counts under the genocide and extermination charges because they were based on a finding that he had had both individual and superior responsibility for the same crime.

In addition to converting the two life sentences and the 15-year sentence into a single sentence of 45 years, the Chamber also ordered that Mr. Kajelijeli be given credit for time already served.

In other developments, Judge Erik Møse of Norway was re-elected as President of the Tribunal at the annual Judges' Plenary Meeting on Saturday. Judge Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar was elected Vice-President.


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