Arusha, 2 February, 2009 (FH)-The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Appeals Court Monday confirmed life sentence on former Rwandan Kigal Rural Governor, Francois Karera (70), for inciting killings of ethnic Tutsis during the 1994 genocide.

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The Appeals Chamber affirmed Karera's convictions for instigating and committing genocide and for extermination and murder as crimes against humanity, based on the attack and killings of Tutsi refugees at Ntarama Church on 15 April, 1994.

The five-bench chamber, presided by Fausto Pocar, ordered that Karera remain in the UN Detention Facility in Arusha, pending his transfer to the country in which he will serve his sentence.

In December 2007, ICTR's lower court convicted Karera for the massacres of Tutsis between April and June, 1994 in the commune of Rushashi and in the church of Ntarama as in Nyamirambo, a district of Kigali where he had a residence.

At the time of the appeal hearing on August 28, last year Karera claimed his innocence. "I rely on the wisdom of the Appeals Chamber which I humbly ask to acquit me of all the counts charged", pleaded ex-Governor.

The appellant banked on the defence of alibi which he claimed the court of first instance did not take into consideration in its judgment.

Karera was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya, on October 20, 2001 and was transferred the following day to the ICTR detention, in Arusha, northern Tanzania.

The UN court was established in November 1994, to try key suspects of the 100-day killings following the shooting down of Plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, by unknown assailants.

According to UN, an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the April-July slaughter.


© Hirondelle News Agency