Arusha, March 18, 2010 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Appeals Chamber Thursday reversed a number of convictions of former Rwandan Deputy Prosecutor Simeon Nshamihigo and reduced his sentence to 40 years instead of imprisonment for the remainder of his life.

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The Chamber, Presided by Judge Patrick Robinson, ordered the sentence after granting six grounds of appeal but dismissed other 30 arguments of Nshamihigo, who was arrested in 2001 at the ICTR premises after he was discovered working at the UN court as an investigator under a false name-- Sammy Bahati Weza-- claiming to be a Congolese citizen.

Convictions reversed included instigating and killings of refugees taken to Kamarampaka Stadium, killings at some parishes and at Mibilizi hospital, all in Cyangugu prefecture, south-western Rwanda.

The judgment stated clearly that though it had reduced and reversed several Nshamihigo's alleged crimes, it also affirmed his convictions for instigating and ordering the killings of several people, including a medical doctor and a catholic priest family on or about April 7, 1994.

 ‘'Mr. Nshamihigo is guilty of genocide and of extermination, murder and other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity. These are among the gravest crimes known to mankind,'' Judge Robinson stated.

Asked to comment on the judgment, the accused's co-defence counsel, Canadian Nathalie Leblanc said: ‘' I have no comments as 40 years imprisonment is equal to life jail.''

The 50-year-old Nshamihigo himself looked relaxed as the judgement was being read out to him before a fully-packed court-room.

Nshamihigo, who has been on trial since 25 September 2006, will get a credit for the nine years that he has already spent in detention.


© Hirondelle News Agency