15.01.09 - RWANDA/GACACA - GACACA: EX-LEGISLATOR SENTENCED TO 19 YEARS FOR KILLING ETHNIC TUTSIS

Arusha, 15 January 2009 (FH) - A former deputy, Emmanuel Mwumvaneza, has been sentenced to 19 years in prison by  the semi-traditional Gacaca Appeals Court of eastern Rwanda after being found guilty of participating in the 1994 genocide, reported Thursday the tri-weekly newspaper Izuba Rirashe.
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The former deputy, who had been acquitted in the first instance trial, was convicted in appeal for the massacres of ethnic Tutsis in 1994 in Mukama and Kabarondo, two localities of the East Province.

A survivor from Kabarondo questioned by Izuba Rirashe (Rising Sun, in Kinyarwandan) was astonished that Mwumvaneza sat in the National Assembly in spite of the serious charges which weighed against him.

The convict was a deputy from 2003 to 2008.

The contesting parties in Rwanda had agreed before the elections in September 2008 not to retain on their lists of candidates persons suspected of having played a part in the genocide.

Inspired by former village assemblies during which the wise men settled disagreements, the gacacas (pronounced gatchatchas) are charged with trying the alleged authors of the genocide committed against Tutsis in 1994.

They can sentence up to life imprisonment in isolation, the maximum sentence in Rwanda after the abolition of capital punishment in 2007. The Gacaca courts are presided by not professional judges but by persons who are of high regard in the society.

ER/MM/SC

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