Arusha, 1 April, 2009 (FH)- The decision of the UN Prosecutor not to appeal against  acquittal of  General Gratien Kabiligi, former Rwandan Chief of Military Operations,  is considered as not meeting  expectations of the Rwandan public--victims of the 1994 genocide. The April-July slaughter, worst human tragedy of 21st century, claimed lives of about 800,000 people mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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Kabiligi was acquitted in December, last year, of genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), trying key suspects of the killings.

"It is Prosecutor's discretion [not to appeal], but which does not meet Rwandan public interest," reacted, Alloys Mutabingwa, Rwanda government's Special Representative to ICTR, when asked to comment on the Prosecutor's decision over Kabiligi.

Mutabingwa observed that there was a claim that part of the evidence against Kabiligi was not available. "It is an embarrassment and a challenge to the Court in its entirety," he stressed.

"After a careful analysis of the written judgement, the prosecutor has decided not to file an appeal in this[Kabiligi] case", according to Dr Alex Obote-Odora, Chief of Appeals in the Prosecutor's office.

During the judgement on 18 December, the presiding Judge Erik Mose of Norway had read only the summary. The parties received the full text of the judgement at the beginning of February

General Kabiligi, who was Chief of Military Operations to General Staff Headquarters during the genocide, was jointly tried with three other officers, who were sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Among them was the former Cabinet Director to Defence Minister, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, who was accused of being the "mastermind" of the genocide.

The Chamber concluded on Bagosora's responsibility in assassinations of politicians after the crash of the presidential plane, in the evening of 6 April 1994, and in the massacres of Tutsis at roadblocks in Kigali and Gisenyi, northern Rwanda.

Bagosora immediately announced, through his French lawyer Raphael Constant that he would appeal against his client's life sentence.

Kabiligi is currently kept in a safe house in Arusha,  seat of the UN Tribunal,  waiting for his relocation to country of his choice.


© Hirondelle News Agency