21.01.09 - RWANDA/JUSTICE - LAST CHANCE FOR RWANDAN GENERAL SENTENCED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT

Arusha, 21 January 2009 (FH) - After having lost his appeal, General Laurent Munyakazi, who was sentenced to life imprisonment  for participation in the 1994 genocide, will try one last defence on February 18, before the Supreme Court, reports Wednesday the tri-weekly newspaper Izuba Rirashe (Rising Sun).
1 min 8Approximate reading time

The hearing which should have taken place Monday this week, was deferred because of the absence of one of the judges, Sam Rugege, who is currently on a mission abroad, writes the pro-governmental newspaper.
 
As the army Colonel In 1994, Munyakazi, commanded "the mobile group" of the national police and at the time of his arrest in 2005, he was the commander of the second division of the Rwandan army.
 
The convict was sentenced to life imprisonment in November 2006 and the penalty was confirmed in April, 2007 by the Military High Court. He had then filed a final appeal to the Supreme Court.
 
Exiled in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), later went to Kenya, Munyakazi had joined the new Rwandan authorities in 1995 and got integrated into the new army.
 
In the court of first instance, he was prosecuted alongside a catholic priest, Abbot Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, who was also convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia because he lives in exile in France.
 
According to Rwandan law, civilians accused of complicity in a crime with a soldier are also tried alongside the latter by a military court.
 
Nearly 300 witnesses had testified during the trial alleging that the former officer and the priest had agreed to deliver to the killers, Tutsis who had taken refuge in the Holy Family church in Kigali in April 1994.
 
Abbot Munyeshyaka, who had been living in France since 1995, was also indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

ER/MM/NI/GF
© Hirondelle News Agency