Arusha, October 22, 2010 (FH) -Delivery of two judgements by Appeals Chamber in cases involving genocide-convicts, Priest Emmanuel Rukundo and former senior Rwandan government official, Callixte Kalimanzira, was the major event which featured this week at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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Other events include hearing of appeal in the case of former military officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, continuation of trial of former Youth Minister Callixte Nzabonimana, resumption of trial of two top officials of then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, and a visit by Rwandan Prosecutor General Martin Ngonga.

The Appeals Chamber dismissed the appeals by Rukundo and Kalimanzira, who had sought complete acquittal of their conviction and sentences imposed on them by lower chamber. It, however, reduced Rukundo's 25 years imprisonment sentence by two years and the 30-jail-term for Kalimanzira by five years.

It confirmed the conviction of Rukundo, former Military Chaplain, for genocide, murder and extermination in relation to abduction and murder of Tutsis who had sought refuge at Saint Joseph's College and Saint Leon Minor Seminary in Gitarama prefecture, Central Rwanda, after founding him guilty of abetting and aiding the crimes.

Furthermore, it quashed Kalimanzira's conviction for incitement to commit genocide, but upheld his conviction for genocide, confirming that he aided and abetted massacres at Kabuye hill (South Rwanda) where thousands of Tutsis were killed on April 23, 1994.

The Appeals Chamber also conducted hearing of appeal by Muvunyi, with prosecution seeking 25 years of imprisonment against the appellant who was sentenced to 15-year-jail term by lower chamber for direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

However, the defence sought for dismissal of the prosecution's arguments and that Muvunyi's conviction and sentence should be quashed because of inconsistencies of evidence given by the prosecution.

The trial of MRND top officials, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, resumed with the latter ending his boycott of court sessions he staged since August 24.  While the MRND case continues next week, the Tribunal adjourned defence hearing of Nzabonimana to February 28, next year.

Meanwhile, Rwandan Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga paid a visit to the Tribunal and told a press conference that his country would summon American lawyer Peter Erlinder, a defence counsel at ICTR, in the coming few weeks to face genocide denial charges.  


© Hirondelle News Agency