Arusha, 27 August, 2008(FH)-The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will tomorrow hear an appeal of former Governor of Kigali Rural, Francois Karera, who is seeking dismissal of his life sentence imposed by the lower court in December, 2007 for his role in the 1994 genocide

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"Our thrust of the sentence quashing will be based on the strength of our alibi...he {Karera] was not in the area of the alleged killings,'' Alexandre Bergevin told Hirondelle agency Wednesday.

The 69-year-old Karera was convicted of three counts of genocide and crimes against humanity but was acquitted of complicity to commit genocide, which had been an alternative count to genocide.

Karera was accused of actively taking part in a mass killing of ethnic Tutsis in April 1994 in the province for which he was highest-ranking official. The Tribunal said that Karera's failure to protect his Tutsis constituents was the main determinant in his sentence.

The Chamber found that Karera had ordered instigated and encouraged attacks by Hutu militiamen and soldiers against Tutsis in his prefecture.

In mid-April 1994, militiamen and soldiers arrived in Ntarama sector and attacked Tutsis who had sought shelter at a church because of the killings and violence engulfing the country. Karera was present and encouraged the attackers as they killed hundreds of people at the church.

The judges said that in determining the appropriate sentence for Karera, they "took into account in particular his position of authority and the number of victims who were killed at Ntarama Church."

Karera was arrested in Kenya in October 2001and his trial began in January 2006

The hearing will be before judges Fausto Pocar of Italy (presiding), Mohamed Shabuddeen (Guyana), Liu Daqun (China), Theodor Meron (United States) and Wolfgang Schomburg (Germany).

Meanwhile, the judges will hold a one-day plenary on Friday, according to acting Registrar of ICTR, Everard O'Donnell.

"The plenary is a closed session and discusses technical matters with the viewing to enhancing efficiency of the tribunal,'' O'Donnell, who is also the Deputy Registrar, told Hirondelle.

The last plenary was held in March, this year.


© Hirondelle News Agency