Kigali, October 20, 2009 (FH) - The appeal against his life sentence lodged by the former Speaker of the Rwandan Chamber of Deputies, Alfred Mukezamfura, is inadmissible, the presiding judge of a Gacaca Court ruled on Tuesday.

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Mukezamfura was condemned in absentia on September 02 by the Nyakabanda sector Gacaca Court (Kigali), which found him guilty of genocide.

Last week, the president of the tribunal, Philibert Munyandinda, disclosed to Hirondelle News Agency that he had received a "handwritten appeal" bearing the "authentic writing and signature" of the convicted. The latter had been abroad for several months, officially for medical reasons.

According to Munyandinda, the appeal is inadmissible as the convicted needed to be physically present to, first, be notified of his conviction and, then, lodge his appeal.

The judge told Hirondelle on Tuesday that he would issue an international warrant for the arrest of the ex-President of the Chamber of Deputies.

Alfred Mukezamfura, who worked as a journalist in 1994, was convicted for an editorial published during the genocide in the government-owned newspaper Imvaho. The jury equated the article to incitement to commit genocide.

The court also concluded that Alfred Mukezamfura was responsible for the murders of two journalists, Vincent Rwabukwisi and Vincent Shabakaka.

After 1994, Alfred Mukezamfura quit journalism for a political career and was elected, in 2003, into the lower house of parliament of which he became the Speaker. However, in the wake of serious accusations leveled against him, he did not run for reelection in September 2008.

Several other former members of the Chamber of Deputies have also been convicted on charges of genocide by Gacaca Courts, amongst them Elisée Bisengimana and Emmanuel Mwumvaneza, both affiliates of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF, in power), as well as Etienne Magali from the Liberal Party (PL).