10.12.08 - RWANDA/GACACA - TWO GENOCIDE ACCUSED SENTENCED TO 19 YEARS IN PRISON EACH

Kigali, 10 December, 2008-(FH)- The Appeal Court of Gacaca (traditional court in Rwanda) of Nyakabanda sector, Nyarugenge district in Kagali city, last Sunday sentenced two people, Nsengimana Joel alias Gasonko and Nyandwi Turatsinze Claude, to 19 years in prison each for their role in the 1994 genocide.
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That came two days after police had arrested the wife of Nyandwi, Yankurije Marceline for attempt to bribe the Gacaca Appeals Court President, Munyandinda Philbert to over turn the earlier conviction of her husband by the village Gacaca court.

Munyandinda told Hirondelle reporter that he had received several phone calls from Yankurije, and on realizing that he was being offered a bribe, he alerted the police who arrested Yankurije on December 5, at a downtown restaurant in Kigali as the accused was offering him a bribe of 120,000 Rwanda francs ( about 200 $).

Munyandinda said he was not aware if the woman attempted to bribe other Gacaca court members.

On the trial day, Nyandwi insisted that he was innocent of all charges saying that he was not the Nyandwi referred to in the prosecution dossier.

Apparently it was on this basis that the appeals court, after receiving the bribe, was supposed to acquit Nyandwi saying that it was a case of mistaken identity.

Nyandwi was found guilty of having shot and killed seven people in one incidence and for having participated in other attackes that left several others dead during the 1994 genocide.

At the same Gacaca court sitting, the appeal lodged by Nsengimana Joel Gasonko was rejected and he was convicted for four charges including that of having participated in an attack that killed the family of Pastor Amon Mbabazi at APEM Adventist school in the Nyakabanda area in Kigali city.

Gasonko, while denying having participated in the attack on Pastor Amon's family, admitted the other charges saying he was only following orders and asked for forgiveness. He was also sentenced to 19 years in prison.

GU/NI/GF

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