Arusha, November 21, 2009 (FH) - The umbrella body of genocide survivors in Rwanda (IBUKA) on Friday held a peaceful demonstration in Kigali against what they described as "malpractices" by the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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According to the pro-government New Times of Rwanda, the demonstration that stretched from the Tribunal's documentation centre in downtown Kigali to the court's Rwanda liaison office based in Remera, was organized in protest of the recent acquittal of two suspects by the Tanzania-based court.

"We are all against ICTR's decisions. Releasing genocide perpetrators is outright denial of genocide, releasing a person like (Protais) Zigiranyirazo,  (Emmanuel) Bagambiki, Andre Ntagerura, Ignace Bagirishema, Gen Gratien Kabiligi and others, proves injustice and we are against this, we are protesting this," New Times quoted a demonstrator chanting from a loudspeaker.

New Times quoted Theodore Simburudari, IBUKA president, as having announced his association was halting its cooperation with ICTR.

The demonstrations were sparked-off following two acquittals by the ICTR in 24 hours early this week in Arusha.

On November 16, the Appeals chamber reversed a 20-year sentence imposed on Protais Zigiranyirazo, a brother-in-law of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, and acquitted him of 1994 genocide charges. The Chamber, presided by the American judge Theodor Meron, ordered the immediate release of Zigiranyirazo.

On November 17, the ICTR lower court also ordered the immediate release of the former head of College Christ-Roi, Father Hormisdas Nsengimana, 55, after finding him not guilty of 1994 genocide.

In reaching its conclusions, the Chamber stated that it had assessed the evidence of the prosecution. ‘'They [the attorneys of the Prosecution] do not establish Nsengimana's criminal responsibility or impact the Chamber's findings,'' stressed presiding judge Erik Mose from Norway.


© Hirondelle News Agency