Kigali, March 8, 2010 (FH) - A Gacaca appeals court on Sunday threw out all genocide charges against Augustin Mugemanyi, a senior official at the Rwandan prosecutor's office, for lack of evidence.

0 min 50Approximate reading time

On December 19, 2009, the lower court had sentenced Mugemanyi, administration and finance director at the prosecutor's office, to life imprisonment.  He was found guilty of complicity in several murders including the murder of a well-known singer, Loti Bizimana, illegal confinement, as well as of rapes and sexual abuses in his Kigali neighborhood of Nyakabanda.

The three main witnesses for the Prosecution were Mugemanyi's co-accused.

On Sunday, the Gacaca appeals court acquitted him of all accusations and ordered his immediate release.

"Justice was done! And God is great who has cleared me of this stain," said Mugemanyi as he hugged his young wife who was crying with joy.

Mugemanyi can now ask to be reinstated in his job.

The gacaca courts, adapted from a form of Rwandan traditional justice, are tasked with trying suspected perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide which left some 800,000  people dead, according to the UN.   These village courts, whose judges are elected from the community, can hand down sentences up to life imprisonment, which is now the maximum penalty in Rwanda. They have so far tried more than a million people.


© Hirondelle News Agency