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ARUSHA January 16 2007 (FH) – The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has confirmed this Tuesday the condemnation to life imprisonment of Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, former Finance Minister of the Rwandan government, for his participation in the genocide of 1994. Mr. Ndindabahizi was arrested on January 7 2001 in Belgium and condemned by a court of First Instance on July 15 2004. The Chamber of Appeal has confirmed the condemnation for genocide and extermination as crimes against humanity. He has been declared not guilty of one crime but the court has notably condemned him for his participation in massacres which occurred on the Gitwa hill near Kibuye, Ndindabahizi’s native region in the west of the country. Emmanuel Ndindabahizi has been the Finance Minister of the interim government. During his trial, he explained that he owed his appointment to this function to the fact that he belonged to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which had received three portfolios. He also declared that he had been arrested in Belgium because he refused to cooperate with the prosecutor. After the judgment, his attorney Mr. Michel Konitz (France) expressed his « profound disgust (…) for a justice which leaves murderers unpunished and does not respect the basic principle of doubt ». « If we have confidence in justice, it makes no doubt this trial will be re-examined », he commented, pointing out contradictions between witnesses. Mr. Konitz has denounced the « failure specific to the ICTR » which, in his opinion, is « incapable of conducting lawsuits correctly and is therefore bogging down in procedures ». Mrs. Eugénie Mukamfizi, the defendant’s wife who lives in Belgium with their five children, attended the judgment. She, too, declared after the verdict that she has no doubt her husband, who « saved lives », is innocent. According to her, the ICTR « is not committed to reconcile the Rwandans but to foster hatred amid the Rwandans ». It is the twelfth condemnation to life imprisonment the ICTR has pronounced so far. Since its creation in 1994, the Tribunal has rendered 32 judgments, 17 of which have been re-examined by the Appeals Court. 5 of these 32 defendants have been acquitted. All the condemned but for six who have been transferred to Mali are still living in Arusha. Mr. Ndindabahizi is the fifth Minister of the interim government to be condemned. 6 others are on trial and 2 have been acquitted. PB/AT/MG © Hirondelle News Agency