Arusha, November 16, 2001 (FH) - The Appeals Court of the InternationalCriminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Friday confirmed the life sentencefor genocide of former Rwandan tea factory boss Alfred Musema. It upheldthe lower court's guilty verdict on the counts of genocide andextermination as a crime against humanity, but quashed Musema's earlierconviction on a further charge of rape.

0 min 58Approximate reading time

The Appeals Court, sitting in The Hague (Netherlands), quashed therape charge on the basis of additional hearings last month of two morewitnesses. It said that if the Trial Chamber had heard these witnesses, itwould most likely have reached a different conclusion on the rape charge. On January 27th, 2000, the trial court found Musema guilty ofgenocide, rape and extermination as crimes against humanity, but threw outsix other charges against him. The rape conviction was on the basis thatMusema personally raped a woman named Nyiramusugi in May 1994. However, Musema's British lawyer Steven Kay told an Appeals hearing inArusha earlier this year that two witness statements disclosed byprosecution last April and May cast doubt on the version of events aspresented during trial. The Appeals Chamber last month heard the two witnesses. It was the firsttime that additional witnesses had been heard at the appeal stage. Musema was director of the state-owned tea factory in Gisovu (Kibuyeprefecture, western Rwanda) at the time of the genocide, which left up toone million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead between April and July1994. He was convicted of leading and participating in attacks on Tutsirefugees in the mountainous Bisesero region of Kibuye during the genocide. JC/DO/FH (MU1116e)