Brussels, January 12, 2010 (FH) - The Assize Court of Brussels will decide on March 1, 2010, if it takes into account the opposition of Ephrem Nkezabera to his condemnation to 30 years in jail on December 1 for war crimes including murders and rapes during the 1994 genocide.

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It was the first time in Belgian judicial history that rape was considered a war crime.

Undergoing treatment for cancer, Nkezabera, a former Rwandan banker aged 57, did not attend his month-long trial. He was also absent when the verdict was announced - and so were his lawyers.

Legally, he had the right to oppose the sentence and to request a new trial in his presence.

Nkebazera admitted during the inquiry that he had financed the Interahamwe and the RTLM. However, he denied the rape charges, alleging willing partners.

Ephrem Nkezabera, who was leaving in Brussels, was arrested in June 2004, at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

His trial was the fourth in Belgium linked to the genocide in Rwanda, in which the United Nations estimate that around 800,000 people were killed.


© Hirondelle News Agency