03.03.08 - ICTR/RUTAGANIRA - EX-RWANDAN COUNCILLOR SET FREE

Arusha, 3 March 2008 (FH) - The former Councillor in Mubuga in Kibuye, Vincent Rutaganira, walked a free man on Sunday morning after he completed his six years jail sentence which was imposed by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for pleading guilty to crime of complicity in extermination during the 1994 genocide.
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ICTR/RUTAGANIRA - EX-RWANDAN COUNCILLOR SET FREE
Arusha, 3 March 2008 (FH) - The former Councillor in Mubuga in Kibuye, Vincent Rutaganira, walked a free man on Sunday morning after he completed his six years jail sentence which was imposed by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for pleading guilty to crime of complicity in extermination during the 1994 genocide.

Detained by the UN tribunal since 4 March 2002, the 68-year-old former municipal councillor had also confessed his failure to take measures to protect Tutsis in his area.

Rutaganira's sentence, shortest in the tribunal's 14-year existence, was delivered on 14 March, 2005.

ICTR's Information Officer, Boca Sy, said that Rutaganira left the UN's Special Dentention Facility for an unknown destination.

He left aboard a UN vehicle with his luggages,'' added Sy.

"He also had his last breakfast at the detention facility and also bade farewell to some of his colleagues,'' according to Boca. No relatives were spotted at the exit gate.

He has yet to find a host country. However, during his trial, Rutaganira had said he would wish to return home, but his wife, who testified for his defence, thought of living oustide. When she returned to Rwanda, where she was facing Gacaca court, she was acquitted and left the country.

Rutaganira was arrested in western Tanzanian town of Kigoma in March 2002. He was among the first persons to be indicted by the UN Court.

The former councillor is the second person to have completed sentence and released. The first was the late Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, who died just one month after completing his ten-year sentence.

Currently 18 convicted persons are waiting for a host country. Eleven trials are in progress involving 27 accused.

The UN has set a deadline of December, 2008 to complete all first instance trials and 2010 for appeals.

According to UN estimates 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the April-July bloodbath.

SC/GF
© Hirondelle News Agency