Arusha, 30 September 2008 (FH) - Genocide-accused Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, former Rwandan Commander of Ecole Sous-officers (ESO) College, has requested for his provisional release from the UN Detention Facility in Arusha while waiting for his new trial, a date for which has not yet been scheduled, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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On 29 August, the Appeal Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) cancelled the convictions as well as the 25-year prison sentence delivered by the first instance Court against Muvunyi, but ordered that he be tried again on only one count-- incitement to commit genocide.

After the ruling, the officer filed a confidential motion for a provisional release, learned Tuesday the Hirondelle Agency from the press service of the Tribunal.

The prosecutor opposes the request due to, inter alia, the applicant addressing the wrong instance with his motion to the Appeals Chamber. For the prosecutor, the Appeals Chamber was no longer involved in this case since it has rendered its judgment.

During a press conference last week, the ICTR spokesperson, Roland Amoussouga, indicated that the new trial would proceed before a different composition of first instance judges from which had tried him previously.

In his response, the prosecutor brings forth, in addition, that Muvunyi does not specify if a country would be ready to welcome him if he was granted provisional release. He also insists on the fact that the former Rwandan officer did not turn himself in, but that the British authorities had to arrest him on their territory in 2000, pursuant to an ICTR warrant.

What worries the prosecution was that the defendant can disappear if provisional releasel was to be granted to him. The prosecutor opposes a hearing requested by Muvunyi for additional oral arguments in support of his motion. If there were other reasons, they should have been detailed in the request, he adds.

Muvunyi was found guilty on 12 September 2006, of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and other inhuman acts. All these convictions were quashed in Appeal.

The accused, however, will be tried on only one count of the indictment, "direct and public incitement to commit genocide", in connection with a speech which he gave during the 1994 genocide at the convention center of Gikore, in the Butare region. The limits imposed by the Appeals Chamber in its ruling also apply to the sentence: he can not be sentenced, at the end of his new trial, to more than 25 years in prison, the sentence which had been given to him in first instance.


© Hirondelle News Agency