Arusha, October 18th, 2000 (FH) – The UN Appeals Court is to hand down adecision Thursday on the case of former Rwandan Prime Minister JeanKambanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said lateTuesday. Kambanda was sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guiltyto genocide, but now wants to plead not-guilty and stand trial.

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An ICTR press release said the Appeals Court would render its decision inthe Hague, Netherlands, where it is based. The Court handles appeals fromboth the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia(ICTY). Jean Kambanda was Prime Minister of the Rwandan interim government whichheaded the country during the 1994 genocide. He was sentenced to lifeimprisonment on September 4th, 1998, after pleading guilty to genocide andcrimes against humanity. But in February this year, Kambanda asked toretract his guilty plea. He said the Appeals Court should overturn the TrialCourt’s verdict and order a full trial. In a hearing before the Appeals Court on June 27th, Kambanda claimed that hehad been forced to plead guilty against his will. “I was aware of the factscontained in the so-called plea agreement [concluded with the prosecution],”he told the Appeals Court, “but some of them seem to me so inaccurate that Ireject the whole thing. ”UN Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte of Switzerland has asked the Appeals Court toconfirm Kambanda’s life sentence. The former Prime Minister is detained inThe Hague. He is defended by Dutch lawyer Tjarda Eduard van der Spoel. AT/JC/FH (KM%1017E)