Arusha, 29 August 2008(FH)--The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Friday quashed a 25-year-jail sentence imposed by a lower court to the 1994 genocide-accused former Commander of Ecole Sous-Officers (ESO) College, Tharcisse Muvunyi, but ordered a partial retrial of one of count, reports independent Hirondelle Agency.

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"The Chamber quashes Muvunyi's conviction for direct and public incitement to commit genocide under count three of the indictment based on a speech he gave at the Gakore Trade Centre and orders a retrial pursuant to Rule 118(C) of the Rules, limited to the allegations considered under this ground of appeal,'' ordered Presiding Judge, Fausto Pocar.

The date for the partial retrial for Muvunyi, who has already spent over eight years in custody, will be announced by the Registry at a later date.

The Chamber also acquitted the accused over charges of abduction and killing of 20 to 30 Tutsi refugees from the Butare University Hospital, the attack against Beneberika Convent and at the Groupe Scolaire.

The Chamber also absolved Muvunyi from the Mukura forest attack, one of the major site of the 1994 killings, on grounds that the charge was omitted from the indictment although the prosecution had in its possession information about the attack several months before filing the initial indictment in November 2000.

"Indeed, during the hearing the prosecution acknowledged that the indictment was defective in this respect,'' underlined Judge Pocar.

The Chamber dismissed both grounds of prosecution's appeal; that of lenient 25 years sentence and entering a conviction against Muvunyi for rape as a crime against humanity.

"The Appeals Chamber cannot identify any legal error in the approach taken by the Trial Chamber that will invalidate its decision not to hold the allegation or evidence of rapes committed by ESO Camp soldiers against Muvunyi,'' noted the judges in their unanimous decision ruling

‘The judges gave a fair and accurate analysis of the appeal...in other words they have stated that they would have not rendered the judgement this way [as done by lower court],'' American Lead Counsel William Taylor told Hirondelle after the judgement.

He added:" the appeals ruling is quite satisfying, it has upheld our arguments by almost 99 per cent...I am happy my client is not labeled a criminal.''

The Chief of Appeal in the Prosecutor's Office, Dr Alex Obote, declined any comments for the time being.

The Judges have ordered the accused to be remanded in custody pending his retrial.


© Hirondelle News Agency