05.12.08 - ICTR/WEEKLY SUMMARY - EX-TOP RWANDAN SINGER AND COMPOSER GETS 15 YEARS JAIL OVER GENOCIDE

Arusha, 5 December, 2008 (FH)-Rwanda's former famous composer and singer, Simon Bikindi (54), on Tuesday was handed down a 15 years sentence for his role to incite killings of ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 genocide using public address system.
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Delivering the judgement Tuesday, Presiding judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Chamber III, Monica Weinberg de Roca, said that Bikindi was guilty of direct and public incitement to commit genocide towards end of June, 1994, but was found not guilty of five other charges of conspiracy to commit genocide; genocide or alternatively complicity in genocide; murder and persecution as crimes against humanity, reports Hirondelle Agency. However, Bikindi will benefit a credit of seven years that he has already served in the detention, pending his trial.

Meanwhile, the Trial Chamber III has censured conduct of Peter Robinson of United States; lead of counsel of genocide accused Joseph Nzirorera, and has ordered that his behaviour be communicated to the professional body of his country of origin.

The Chamber also noted that the counsel has been filing improperly motions which exploit the method of remuneration adopted by the Tribunal and directed that fees related to abusive and redundant process be denied to the counsel.

In another development, two people convicted by ICTR left Tuesday night Arusha, Tanzania, for Mali where they will serve the remainder of their sentence, reports Hirondelle Agency.

Sentenced respectively to 30 years and 35 years in prison, historian Ferdinand Nahimana and former Editor of extremist Kangura newspaper, Hassan Ngeze, will join in Mali six other ICTR prisoners, including the former Prime Minister of the interim government during the genocide, Jean Kambanda, sentenced to life in prison, who were transferred there in 2001.

The secretive transfer was confirmed by several defence lawyers. 

When questioned, ICTR spokesperson, Roland Amoussouga, said:" ICTR started today (Wednesday) to transfer convicts to Mali where their sentences will be served" but declined any further details.

This week saw adjournments of three trials until early next year-Military II trial of four former Rwandan military officers was adjourned to February 16, 2009 after the last accused, Captain Innocent Sagahutu, completed his own defence on Wednesday; The trial of Callixte Kalimanzira, a former official of the Rwandan ministry of the interior, was adjourned to 26 January and; the longest and the largest trial popularly known as "Butare Trial" was adjouned sine die after the last witness, Elie Ndayambaje, former Mayor, completed his own defence.

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