Arusha, March 17, 2011 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has provided guidelines during hearing of appeal involving three former senior Rwandan military officers, including ex-Defence Ministry's Cabinet Director, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, scheduled between March 30 and April 1, 2011.

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"The Appeals Chamber hereby informs Theoneste Bagosora and the prosecution that during the course of appeal hearing, (...) are invited to discuss with reference to the record, Bagosora's ability to issues orders to the Rwandan Armed Forces between April 7 and 9, 1994," it explained in its order.

According to its order for the preparation of the appeal hearing, the Chamber wants the parties to discuss whether the only reasonable inference available from the evidence was that Bagosora knew or had reason to know that the specific crimes of which he was convicted were about to be committed.

Other appellants in the appeal are Major Aloys Ntabakuze, who commanded the Para-commando Battalion and Lieutenant-Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, former commander of the military sector of Gisenyi (northern Rwanda).

The Chamber wants Ntabakuze and the prosecution to address on the sufficiency notice provided to him by his indictment that he was being charged for crimes committed by militiamen and whether a defect in such respect, if any, was cured and his ability to prepare his defence was materially impaired.

Likewise, the Chamber wants Nsengiyumva and prosecution to discuss, among others, the sufficiency of notice provided to him by his indictment that he was charged for aiding and abetting the killings of Tutsis committed by militiamen in the Bisesero area of Kibuye prefecture in the second half of June 1994.

Bagosora, who was considered the mastermind of the Rwandan 1994 genocide, was held responsible for the killings for having exercised effective control over the army and gendarmerie between April 7 and 9, 1994 as the Defence Minister was on mission.

In his appeal, however, the appellant disputes such findings, alleging that during the period in question former Rwandan Defence Minister, General Marcel Gatsinzi, who was appointed Chief of Staff on April 7, 1994, and his arrival at the army headquarters the next day  was responsible for all affairs of the force.

Gen. Gatsinzi, who has been summoned by the Trial Chamber, is expected to testify on March 30, on this point.

Bagosora was sentenced to life imprisonment alongside Ntabakuze and Nsengiyumva after the trio was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes on December 18, 2008. Their co-accused, Brigadier-General Gratien Kabiligi was acquitted, for lack of evidence.


© Hirondelle News Agency