Arusha, May 7, 2003 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will make its judgement known on May 26 in the appeal motion filed by the former vicepresident of Interahamwe, Georges Rutaganda. Rutaganda, 45, was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 6, 1999 by Trial Chamber One of the ICTR where he was on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity.

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The chamber had found him guilty of three counts (genocide, crimes against humanity extermination and assassination) out of the eight counts that the prosecution had initially brought before the tribunal. Both the prosecutor and Rutaganda had appealed the sentence. The Appeals chamber will render judgement in Arusha, the ICTR's headquarters, where it has been sitting in this case since February 28, 2003. Georges Rutaganda was arrested in Zambia on October 10, 1995 and transferred to Arusha on May 26, 1996. His trial began on March 18, 1997. He is represented in the Appeals Chamber by David Jacobs and David Paciocco, both from Canada. In the Trial chamber he was represented by another Canadian, Tiphaine Dickson who later withdrew on health grounds. Rutaganda is accused of massacres against Tutsi both in Kigali town and his hometown of Masango, in Gitarama, central Rwanda. The appellant's spirits were bolstered by the release of Brigadier Leonidas Rusatira in August, 2003 by the ICTR for “lack of sufficient evidence”. A paragraph in his judgement states that he collaborated with Rusatira in committing crimes in Kicukiro and Nyanza, Kigali city. KN/AT/CE/FH(RU'0507e)