20.08.07 - RWANDA/JUSTICE - GENOCIDE: A RADIO RWANDA JOURNALIST AVOIDS PRISON

  Arusha, 20 August 2007 (FH) - A Rwandan journalist, Isaïe Karegeya, who had been sentenced to 6 years in prison, in June, because of his involvement in the 1994 genocide, avoided Thursday a prison sentence at the end of his revision trial, it was learned Monday from a local associative source.   
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After his judgment on 6 June by the semi-traditional gacaca court of Gahana, in the Southern province, Karegeya, who worked for Radio Rwanda (governmental) at the time of the first judgment, had asked for a revision of his trial.
 
According to the new judgment, Karegeya, following contradictions in prosecution testimonies, was acquitted from all the charges related to attacks against Tutsis during the genocide, reports the League for Human Rights in the Great Lakes Region (LDGL) based in Kigali.
 
The judgment maintains only the guilty decision for looting goods, an infringement which is not punishable by imprisonment.
 
According to Rwandan law, people found guilty of looting during the genocide must restore or pay for the looted goods.  
 
Fellow journalist, Elias Hategekimana, who had been sentenced to 19 years in prison, saw his sentenced reduced to 12 years in prison, continues the LDGL.
 
Hategekimana was also immediately released because he had spent 12 years and 4 months in prison, adds the organization.
 
The gacacas, popular courts inspired by ancestral village assemblies, can try all persons to have allegedly been involved in the genocide; except for organizers and rapists, who are tried by the conventional courts.
 
The gacacas are not run by professional magistrates but by persons considered possessing a high moral integrity and are elected by the community.
 
ER/PB/MM

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