Arusha, October 31, 2011 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is set to hand down judgments December 15 on three individuals, including the alleged mastermind of the 1994 genocide, Colonel Théoneste Bagosora. The other two are Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva and Rwandan former senior official Dominique Ntawukulilyayo.

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Bagosora and Nsengiyumva are appealing life sentences for genocide and other crimes. Ntawukulilyayo is appealing a 25-year sentence for genocide.

Bagosora, former Director of Cabinet in the Defence Ministry, was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes on December 18, 2008, for the killings of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian peacekeepers in charge of her security. He was also found responsible for crimes committed at several roadblocks in the Kigali area and in his hometown of Gisenyi, northwest Rwanda, between April 6 and 9,1994.

Nsengiyumva, who was in charge of military operations in Gisenyi, was found responsible for massacres at Mudende University, Nyundo parish, as well as the targeted killings of civilians in the area under his command. He was also found guilty of sending militiamen to the Bisesero area of Kibuye prefecture to kill Tutsi refugees in June 1994.

Bagosora and Nsengiyumva were tried jointly with two other military officers, Brigadier-General Gratien Kabiligi and Major Aloys Ntabakuze, in the so-called "Military I case". Kabiligi was acquitted. Ntabakuze was also sentenced to life imprisonment by the lower court. He appealed alongside Bagosora and Nsengiyumva and their appeal hearing was set for March 30, 2011.    

However, Ntabakuze's appeals case was separated from the others after his lead counsel, American lawyer Peter Erlinder, failed to show up on March 30. Ntabakuze's appeal was heard on September 27, 2011, and the Appeals Chamber is still drafting the judgment.

With regard to Ntawukulilyayo, the lower court convicted him of genocide on August 3, 2010. He was sentenced to 25 years in jail for his role in the April 23, 1994 massacres at Kabuye hill, Butare prefecture (southern Rwanda).

The majority of lower court judges found him liable for transporting soldiers to the hill, who later joined other assailants in killings of Tutsi refugees. The refugees were moved from Gisagara market in the same prefecture to the massacre site under Ntawukulilyayo's orders, on promise that they would be protected.


© Hirondelle News Agency