Arusha, 03 February 2010 (FH)-The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will render its judgment on February 11 in the re-trial of former Rwandan military officer Lieutenant-Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga said Wednesday.

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This will be the first judgment of the year at the UN court, established to try key suspects in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Muvunyi's is the first retrial in the history of the ICTR.

In a first trial, the ex-officer of the Rwandan Armed Forces had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and other inhumane acts. However, the Appeals Chamber overturned the lower court's judgment on August 29, 2008, and ordered a new trial on one count only. It retained only the count of direct and public incitement to commit genocide, throwing out the other charges on grounds of errors in the indictment.

The Appeals Court also ruled that even if found guilty in the retrial, Muvunyi's sentence could not exceed 25 years.

The single charge of direct and public incitement to commit genocide relates particularly to a speech made by the accused at the Gikore Commercial Centre, Butare Prefecture, southern Rwanda, in May 1994. Muvunyi is accused of using  Kinyarwanda proverbs to encourage Hutus to kill Tutsis.

Muvunyi's re-trial opened on June 17, 2009. The prosecutor presented six witnesses in five days while the defence brought seven witnesses.

The judgement of Lieutenant-Colonel Ephrem Setako is also expected in February. Tribunal spokesman Amoussouga said a date had not yet been set.


© Hirondelle News Agency