Arusha, 30 September, 2009 (FH) - The closing arguments in the re-trial of the former Rwandan military officer, Lt. Col. Tharcisse Muvunyi are scheduled to be heard on Friday this week, before Trial Chamber III of the  International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), according  to ICTR press statement.

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The re-trial began on 17 June and it took the prosecutor five days to present six witnesses to support his case whereas the defence rested its case on September 17, after fielding seven witnesses.

Earlier Lt. Col Muvunyi had been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on 12 September 2006 after being found guilty of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and other inhuman acts.

But on 29 August 2008, the Appeals Chamber cancelled the guilty verdicts as well as the sentence and ordered a new trial for "direct and public incitement to commit genocide", in connection with the speech made at  Gikore commercial centre in Butare prefecture, south Rwanda in May 1994.

According to the prosecution the significance of Muvunyi's speech, was the use of Kinyarwanda proverbs which contained inflammatory language such as referring the Tutsis as ‘'inyenzi'' (cockroaches) or inzoka (snakes) alleging that this kind of language in the speech incited ethnic Hutus to kill Tutsis.

If found guilty, he would not be sentenced to more than 25 years in prison, his previous penalty, according to the ruling of the Appeal Chamber.

The defence team is led by the American lawyer William Taylor.


© Hirondelle News Agency