Arusha, March 13, 2012 (FH) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Bubacar Jallow, has lodged a notice of appeal against the judgment of the Tribunal for not convicting two former top Rwandan politicians, Matthieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, of the charge of conspiracy to commit genocide.

1 min 51Approximate reading time

In its judgment delivered on December 21, 2011, the Trial Chamber convicted Ngirumpatse and Karemera of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It concluded that those crimes include rape and sexual violence perpetrated throughout the country constituted act of genocide and crimes against humanity.  

The Chamber, however, dismissed the conspiracy to commit genocide charge, reasoning that the criminality of Ngirumpatse and Karemera, who were respectively President and Vice-President of MRND, the former ruling party, was accounted for by a conviction for genocide and further conviction of conspiracy count would be duplicative and unfair.

During the trial, the prosecution had indicted the two officials for their superior responsibility as top officials of MRND for the crimes committed by members of their party, notably its youth wing, Interahamwe.   

In the judgment, the judges found Karemera and Ngirumpatse had authority and effective control over Interahamwe, who participated in the initial attacks on Tutsi civilians, throughout the genocide and failed to punish them.   

They found that the two convicts had conspired with the Interim Government to adopt a policy of genocide, which they executed primarily through their Civil Defence Plan, a thinly veiled strategy for extermination of Tutsis.   

According to the notice of appeal filed on March 5, 2012, Jallow is requesting the Appeals Chamber to correct the Trial Chamber's error and find that the accumulative convictions are permissible for conspiracy to commit genocide and genocide and should then enter an additional conviction for conspiracy to commit genocide.

"Having found Matthieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera criminally responsible for both genocide and conspiracy to commit genocide, the Trial Chamber committed an error of law invalidating the Chamber's decision when it failed to enter a conviction for conspiracy," the prosecutor stated.   

The prosecutor is further challenging the Trial Chamber's error in law and fact by acquitting the duo in relation to crimes connected to the killings of Tutsis in Bisesero area based on Karemera's speech of May 3, 1994 at Kibuye prefectural office. As said by prosecution, the Chamber failed to find that the speeches substantially contributed to the killings.   

In its findings, the Chamber had entered acquittal over the event, ruling that the speeches were general calls for killings and not directly related to Bisesero.


Ngirumpatse (73) and Karemera (61) were arrested in Mali and Togo, respectively in June 1998, and transferred to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, a month later.  Their trial began in November 2003. The prosecution fielded 46 witnesses whereas the defence called a total of 74 witnesses, including the defendants themselves.


© Hirondelle News Agency