Arusha, May 26, 2011 (FH) -The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has declined to impose conditions on liberty of former Rwandan Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie, Augustin Ndindiliyimana, pending the prosecution's decision to appeal against the judgement delivered in his case, a week ago.

1 min 57Approximate reading time

On May 17, 2011, a Trial Chamber convicted Ndindiliyimana of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, but ordered his immediate release after sentencing him to the time he spent in detention since his arrest on January 29, 2000 in Belgium.

In its decision dated May 20, 2011 on a motion, seeking restriction measures against the general pending the appeal process, the Chamber found that the prosecution's reasons in support of its request were without of merits.

"The Chamber is not satisfied that the prosecution has provided reasonable basis to support its claim that there was a high risk Ndindiliyimana could abscond should the prosecutor file an appeal," it said.

According to the Chamber, the right to liberty was a fundamental human right, the infringement of which must be justified and proportionate.   

It noted that Ndindiliyimana was already subjected to significant "de facto" restrictions on his movement and consultations with the registry reveal that he was currently residing in a Tribunal safe house.

"In these circumstances, the Chamber considers the prosecution's requests for further restrictions on his liberty to be unreasonable and without merit. The Chamber is not satisfied that there is sufficient justification to order any restrictive conditions on Ndindiliyimana's liberty," it further said.

However, the Chamber found advisable and in the interest of justice for Ndindiliyimana to be available and accessible in the event the prosecution files its notice of appeal.

"The Chamber, therefore, advises that should Ndindiliyimana seek to change his present residence before the expiration of the period for filling a notice of appeal, or should he wish to travel outside Arusha or seek to obtain travel documents, he should inform the Tribunal as well as his counsel immediately and in advance," it said.

In its motion, the prosecution had sought for restrictions on Ndindiliyimana's liberty to ensure his availability to respond should the prosecutor decide to appeal.

The prosecution claimed that Ndindiliyimana did not surrender voluntarily to the Tribunal and it was a difficult process to arrest him in Belgium.  Hence, the prosecution alleged, without conditions, there was a high risk for him to escape.

However, the defence had opposed to the motion, submitting that there was no basis to impose any restrictions on Ndindiliyimana's liberty. Contrary to the prosecution's assertions, the defence contended that Ndindiliyimana had surrendered to the authorities of his own volition and refuted the claims for him to flee.

In the same judgement, Ndindiliyimana was convicted alongside ex- Chief of Staff of the Army Augustin Bizimungu, who was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.

Other two military officials, Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, former Commander of the Reconnaissance (RECCE) Battalion and Captain Innocent Sagahutu, who was a member of the unity, were also convicted of crime against humanity and war crimes and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment each.


© Hirondelle News Agency