Arusha, August 15, 2011(FH) -The prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has decided to appeal against sentences and some findings in the judgement delivered in the case involving four former senior Rwandan military officials, including two generals.

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On May 17, 2011, a Trial Chamber convicted former Chief of Staff of the army Augustin Bizimungu and former Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie Augustin Ndindiliyimana of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bizimungu was jailed 30 years, while Ndindiliyimana was sentenced to the time served since his arrest on January 29, 2000.

According to the judgement, the Chamber found the two generals responsible for offenses perpetrated by soldiers and gendarmes under their command in 1994. Bizimungu was found to have, among others, made a speech in Mukingo Commune, calling for start of killing of Tutsis in Ruhengeri prefecture. For Ndindiliyimana, he was found liable for failure to take necessary and reasonable measures to punish the alleged perpetrators of crimes at two locations, at Kansi Parish in Nyaruhengeri Commune, in Butare (South Rwanda) and St. Andre College in Kigali, Central Rwanda.

The same day, Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Captain Innocent Sagahutu, respectively Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion and a member of the unit, were convicted of crime against humanity and war crimes for their role in the death of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and killings of 10 Belgian peacekeepers on April 7, 1994. They were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment each for ordering the killings.

"We are appealing against sentences for Bizimungu and Ndindiliyimana and the findings in which the two were acquitted. For Sagahutu and Nzuwonemeye, we are appealing against sentences only," Deputy Prosecutor Bongani Majola told Hirondelle News Agency on Monday.

The Deputy Prosecutor could not, however, specify the maximum sentence they have proposed to be imposed for each accused. "We have left the matter to the Appeals Chamber mandated to decide on the appropriate sentence," he said.

Immediately after judgement delivery, several interested parties voiced their concern on the verdict. The Secretary General of Ibuka, an organization for genocide survivors, Janvier Forongo, in particular, advised the ICTR prosecutor to appeal because sentences imposed on genocide planners were in the lower side.


© Hirondelle News Agency