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Rwanda tribunal confirms a sentence for genocide

Rwanda tribunal confirms a sentence for genocide and starts two more trials

The Appeals Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has confirmed the conviction of the former Rwandan Minister of Higher Education for genocide and extermination during the country’s 1994 genocide and ordered that he immediately start his two concurrent life sentences.

The Appeals Chamber disagreed yesterday with the Trial Chamber’s finding that Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda instigated, aided and abetted genocide and extermination, but found that it correctly held him responsible for ordering genocide and extermination.

Mr. Kamuhanda was found to have supervised the killings in his native Gikomero commune, in the Kigali-Rural prefecture. He distributed firearms, grenades and machetes to the Hutu Interahamwe militia and led attacks at the parish church and adjoining school in Gikomero, where several thousand Tutsi civilians were killed, ICTR said.

He was arrested in Bourges, France, on 26 November 1999, and on 7 March 2000 he was transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania.

ICTR also began the trial of three former senior officials from the Interim Government of Rwanda and ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow gave his opening statement in the case.

Edouard Karemera, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Joseph Nzirorera were charged with seven counts, including conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide, genocide, alternatively complicity in genocide, rape and extermination as crimes against humanity, and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions.

The three accused had pleaded not guilty to all charges against them on 21 March, ICTR said.

Mr. Karemera was a former Minister of the Interior and Vice-Chairman of the Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le Développement et la Démocratie (MRND) party. Mr. Ngirumpatse was formerly Director General for Foreign Affairs and MRND Chairman, while Mr. Nzirorera was a former Minister of Industry, Mines and Handicraft, former Speaker of the Rwandan Parliament, and MRND National Secretary.

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