Arusha, November 13, 2001 (FH) - The Appeals Court of the InternationalCriminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will on Friday hand down its judgementon appeal against genocide convict and former Rwandan tea factory bossAlfred Musema. Official sources say the court will sit in The Hague(Netherlands).

1 min 19Approximate reading time

Musema was sentenced to life imprisonment on January 27th, 2000, forgenocide and crimes against humanity, including the rape of a Tutsi woman. The accused has appealed on grounds that the Trial Chamber erred both infact and in law. At a hearing in Arusha on May 28th this year, Musema's British lawyerSteven Kay urged the Appeals Chamber to overturn the lower court's judgement and toadmit two new witnesses. He said two witness statements disclosed by theprosecution in April and May this year cast doubt on the version of eventsas presented during Musema's trial. They relate to the rape and genocidecounts. The Appeals Court heard these two witnesses on October 17th in The Hague. It was the first time that it had heard witnesses as part of an appealagainst an ICTR judgement. Musema was transferred to The Hague in advance of that hearing. He hadpreviously been in the ICTR detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania. As Musema was transferred from Arusha to the Dutch prison used by theInternational Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague,former Rwandan Prime Minister Jean Kambanda was returned from The Hague toArusha. Informed sources suggest this is in advance of his imminenttransfer to Mali, along with other ICTR convicts whose prison sentenceshave been confirmed on appeal. Mali, along with Benin and Swaziland, is one of the countries that hasagreed to take ICTR convicts in one of its prisons. Kambanda has beensentenced to life imprisonment for genocide and crimes against humanity. The Appeals Court serves both the ICTR and ICTY. It is normally based atthe ICTY seat in The Hague. However, if it wishes to hold Rwanda tribunalhearings away from the ICTR seat in Arusha, it requires authorization fromthe President. ICTR president Judge Navanethem Pillay gave suchauthorization on October 2nd for the Musema witness hearings and thejudgement on appeal. JC/AT/FH (MU1113e)