Arusha, March 9, 2012 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week granted an early release to one of its convicts, Tharcisse Muvunyi, whereas the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed the appeal by Jean-Pierre Bemba over his request for provisional release during court recesses and over the weekends.

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ICTR grants early release to Muvunyi: Former Rwandan military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, was Tuesday released from detention. The president of the Tribunal, Judge Vagn Joensen, said in a decision that early release for Muvunyi was appropriate after having served more than twelve years of a 15-year jail term for his role in the 1994 genocide. He was subsequently taken to a Safe House where other acquitted persons stay under the supervision of the Tribunal.

Resumption of Ngirabatware trial: The prosecution Monday started fielding witnesses to rebut the defence of alibi for ex-Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware, who claims that he was he was not in Rwanda at some point in time during genocide in April and May 1994. Two witnesses testified in the proceedings this week.

Judgment for two military officers set for May 8: The Press and Public Affairs Unit Monday announced that the Appeals Chamber would deliver two judgments in cases of former Rwandan military officials, Major Aloys Ntabakuze and Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, on May 8, 2012. The two officials are challenging life imprisonment sentences imposed on them by lower court for their role in the 1994 genocide.

Public hearing for Munyagishari referral application: A Referral Chamber Wednesday issued an order, indicating that there would be public hearing on April 12, on application for referral of former militiaman Bernard Munyagishari to Rwanda for trial. The Chamber ordered the prosecution and defence to be present to support their arguments on the matter. The Rwandan government, which had filed a brief, as amicus curiae (friend of the court), was invited to take part.


Judges reject Bemba's appeal over his provisional release: The Appeals Chamber Monday confirmed the rejection of an application by Jean-Pierre Bemba for his temporary release during court recesses and over the weekends. The judges ruled that the gravity of charges against him, the possibility of a substantial sentence if convicted and his access to financial and material support could incite him to abscond. Bemba is charged with crimes against humanity for his command responsibility in crimes committed by his militia in Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003.

Capture of Kony's campaign opened: The American organisation Invisible Children Wednesday launched a campaign via the Internet for the capture of Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony. The "Kony 2012" campaign calls on people around the world to write to policy makers and to plaster Kony's image on the walls of western capitals on the night of April 20, 2012. Two other organisations, the Enough Project and Resolve, are also behind the campaign. The ICC indicted Kony in 2005 for crimes against humanity, along with other leaders of his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).   


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