Arusha, 19 May 2008 (FH) - An employee of the World Food Programme (WFP) ,Jean Nepomuscene Munyagambe, acquitted of genocide charges at the beginning of April by the semi-traditional Gacaca court in Rwanda, is still being detained despite an order for his release, reports Hirondelle Agency.

1 min 1Approximate reading time

Munyagambe, who was employed by WFP office in Chad, returned voluntarily to his country after having learned that he had been convicted in absentia to 18 years in prison for the murder of two women at a road block during of the 1994 genocide.

According to UN estimates, the April-July killings claimed lives of more than 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Imprisoned since his arrival on 3 January, the WFP employee appeared at the beginning of April before the gacaca court of Mbuye, Nyanza district, southern province. During the trial, to which representatives of several organizations for the defence of the human rights assisted, the charges against Munyagambe were rejected.

According to Hirondelle sources in Rwanda and outside especially, Munyagambe's colleagues who are anxious to see his return to Chad, the UN staff member was whisked back to the Mpanga prison despite his acquittal.

However, it has been learnt that a counter order was sent to the prison officials before the formalities could be accomplished.

The interception, according to a Rwandan source, is attributed to a person by the name of Beatrice Mukazi, who claims to be a victim of Munyagambe.

Differences within the gacaca judges in connection with Munyagambe's acquittal have surfaced and some judges wish that the accused appear before another appellate court, in Nyanza, to ensure that he was convicted.


© Hirondelle News Agency