Arusha, March 28, 2011 (FH) - This week at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will be very busy with judgements delivery and hearing of appeals, including that of the alleged mastermind of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora.

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It was opened Monday before the Appeals Chamber by hearing appeals in the case of the oldest genocide-convict at ICTR, former Rwandan businessman, Yussuf Munyakazi (76), alias "Mzee Mandevu" (Kiswahili words literally meaning, the "bearded old man").

Munyakazi was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on June 30, 2010 after being found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination) for ‘'committing'' killings against approximately 5,000 Tutsis who took refugee at Shangi parish and another group of Tutsis housed at Mibilizi church in Cyangugu prefecture, South-West Rwanda on April 29 and 30, 1994.

The prosecution requested for a maximum sentence of life imprisonment to be imposed on the convict, citing the ICTR jurisprudence, gravity and nature of offences committed and number of victims, as among reasons to justify the enhancement.

On Tuesday, a Trial Chamber will deliver judgement in the case of former Rwandan Director in the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Gatete, who is charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity.

The offences are alleged to have been committed in the former prefectures of Kibungo, Eastern Rwanda and Byumba in the North-Eastern of Rwanda. This will be the first judgement for the year to be delivered at the first instance level.

On the same day, the Appeals Chamber will conduct appeals hearing in the case of former senior Rwandan military officer Lieutenant Colonel Ephrem Setako, who was sentenced to 25 years in jail for genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity and violence to life as a war crime.

The following day on Wednesday there would be appeals hearing before the Appeals Chamber in Military I case involving three former senior Rwandan military officers, Col. Bagosora, ex-Defence Ministry's Cabinet Director, 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 three-day-session would commence with the testimony of former Rwandan Defence Minister, General Marcel Gatsinzi, who is currently Rwandan Minister for Natural Disaster and Refugee Affairs. Gen. Gatsinzi will testify as a Chamber witness.

The session will proceed on Thursday with presentation of the appeals' arguments from counsels for Nsengiyumva, Bagosora and later Ntabakuze, respectively, whereas on Friday, the appellants would give their personal addresses in the same sequence to beef up the appeals against their convictions.

On the same day, the Appeals Chamber will deliver judgements in the cases of former Kigali Governor, Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho and former Rwandan military officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi.

Renzaho was sentenced to life imprisonment sentence on July 14, 2009 for genocide, murder and rape after he was found to have, among others, participated in attacks at Sainte-Famille Church in Kigali.

While Muvunyi, who was based in the Non-Commissioned Officers School (ESO) in Butare (South Rwanda) was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on February 11, 2010, after being convicted of one count of direct and public incitement to commit genocide. He was held responsible for giving a speech at Gikore Centre, Butare Prefecture (Southern Rwanda) in May, 1994, allegedly leading to killings of Tutsis.


© Hirondelle News Agency