18.02.08 - RWANDA/GACACA - GENOCIDE ACCUSED RPF LEGISLATOR ACQUITTED BY GACACA COURT

Gatsibo, North-eastern Rwanda, 18 February 2008 (FH) - Mr. Emmanuel Mwumvaneza, Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) legislator, prosecuted for crimes of genocide has been acquitted by the traditional Gacaca Court of Appeal of the Ndatemwa sector, Gatsibo District, reports Hirondelle Agency.
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Mr Mwumvaneza, sector adviser in the former commune of Muvumba in 1994, was accused of illegal possession of a firearm, meetings to plan genocide and murders.

The defendant pleaded guilty to firearms possession and preparation meetings, but denied the other counts of the indictment.

Regarding meetings convened to plan genocide, a defence witness named Bigaruka, stated: "it was necessary that we take part in these meetings and that we were going to accommodate the Interahamwe group and some French who had come by helicopter to our camp".

According to a representative of Ibuka, Boniface Nkusi Boniface, many irregularities were reported at the Appeal level.

"The revision of the trial is essential" affirmed Nkusi. According to him, "the judges did on purpose to ignore, in their opinion, important things for a fair judgment.

Meanwhile, Elias Bizimungu and Jean Maris Vianney Mugabo, respectively president of the appellate court of the Ndatemwa sector and coordinator of the Ndatemwa cell, were caught on  5 February, as they allegedly  received 350 000 Rwandan francs (approximately 600 USD) from the hands of Mwumvaneza, and are today in custody.

SRE/PB/MM/SC

© Hirondelle News Agency