Arusha, January 25, 2011(FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will deliver judgement in the case of former Rwandan military officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, on April 1, 2011.

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In October 2010, the prosecution requested the Chamber to enhance to 25 years of imprisonment a 15-year jail term imposed on the appellant for direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

Trial Attorney Alfred Orono Orono submitted that the Trial Chamber should have considered the appellant's individual capacity and gravity of offence committed as result of his conducts. He claimed that the defendant was a high ranking military official.

Muvunyi, who was based in the Non-Commissioned Officers School (ESO) of Butare, was convicted of direct and public incitement to commit genocide for giving a speech at Gikore Centre, Butare Prefecture (Southern Rwanda) in May, 1994, allegedly leading to killings of Tutsis.   

The appellant's lead counsel, William Taylor, sought for dismissal of the prosecutions' arguments and that his client's appeal against conviction and sentence should be allowed, citing, among others, inconsistencies of evidence given to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt.

He submitted that allegations in relation to Gikore event were not supported by evidence, particularly on whether the defendant had incited people to killings. While other witnesses said Muvunyi gave incitement statements, others, most from defence testified to the contrary.

The 15-year jail term was given by a Trial Chamber against Muvunyi on February 11, 2010, after the Appeals Chamber quashed a first conviction and 25 years imprisonment sentence for genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and other inhumane acts, on grounds of errors in the indictment.

The Appeals Chamber had ordered a retrial on direct and public incitement to commit genocide count, specifically on the speech Muvunyi made at Gikore Commercial Centre.


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