Arusha, October 27th, 2000 (FH) - The Appeals Court of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will on Monday hear the appeals of Rwandan genocide convicts Clément Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana. Both men were convicted by the same Trial Chamber of the ICTR on May 21st, 1999.

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The Chamber found Kayishema guilty on four counts of genocide and Ruzindana on one. Kayishema was sentenced to life imprisonment and Ruzindana to 25 years. Kayishema was the prefect of Kibuye in western Rwanda during the 1994 genocide which left some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead. Kayishema says the ICTR's judgement is flawed with regard to both the facts and the law, and that the court has given undue weight to the prosecution's case over that of the defence. His lawyers say that on some occasions, evidence presented by the defence was ruled out without comment or explanation. André Ferran and Philippe Moriceau of France say they consider Ruzindana was tried jointly with Kayishema. His appeal is also based on errors of fact and of law, which he says invalidate the decision. "Obed Ruzindana considers that the Tribunal erred on several key issues: the determination of intent, the individual responsibility of the Appellant, the role of the Appellant in light of the essential ingredients of genocide, and the concept of common intention," says the Notice of Appeal. Ruzindana is defended by French lawyer Pascal Besnier and Dutch co-counsel Willem van der Griend. They say that "the Tribunal did not show explicit manifestation of the Appellant's intent to exterminate the Tutsis". They also quote a UN experts' report which stated that the genocide in Rwanda was carried out by individuals "under a responsible command structure that conducted sustained military operations involving strategic planning and tactical sophistication", and say that the Tribunal failed to assess their client's responsibility in that context. "The Tribunal did not prove that Obed Ruzindana, a mere businessman, had the necessary ressources to commit genocide, whether material (weapons, logistics) or intellectual, such as a position of authority over civilians or soldiers," they say. Prosecutors are also appealing the Trial Chamber's decision. They are asking that both Kayishema and Ruzindana be found guilty on the counts where the Chamber declared them not-guilty, and that both men be given the maximum sentence of life. Kayishema was indicted on 24 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions, while Ruzindana was indicted on six. Prosecutors say that in Ruzindana's case, the Trial Chamber did not take enough account of the aggravating circumstances. Ruzindana himself says he "contests the existence of aggravating circumstances, in particular the reference to 'the heinous means by which Ruzindana committed killings'". AT/JC/FH (KY%1027E )