Arusha, 9 July 2008 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will render its ruling on 29 August in the trial of former top commander ,Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi,sentenced to 25 years, reports Hirondelle Agency. During the appeal hearing in March, the prosecutor had asked the judges to sentence the officer to life in prison.

1 min 2Approximate reading time

“The 25-year sentence does not reflect the intrinsic gravity of the crime of incitement to commit genocide especially that it was perpetrated by an
officer of the rank of Colonel”, argued the prosecution.

The First Instance Chamber had concluded that Muvunyi had gone to at least two places in the prefecture of Butare, southern Rwanda, in 1994 and had
called on Hutu civilians to kill ethnic Tutsis.

“His position of the highest ranking officer in the prefecture inciting Hutu peasants to commit genocide should have been regarded as an
aggravating circumstance”, claimed the prosecution, adding that the crime of incitement to commit genocide is one of the gravest crimes which, by
itself, deserved life imprisonment.

During his closing remarks, Muvunyi, who faces crimes committed in 1994 by soldiers of the School of Warrant Officers (ESO) of Butare, has strongly
denied ever having been commander of the military academy.

He had also affirmed that he did not have any authority to punish the guilty soldiers. “There was no official text or any communication which
named me to this position”, he stated, pleading with the appeal judges to acquit him.

Muvunyi’s judgment will be preceded by arguments in the appeal filed by François Karera, the former prefect of rural Kigali, sentenced to life in
prison on 7 December 2007.