Arusha, May 08, 2012 (FH) –The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday upheld a 30-year imprisonment sentence imposed by lower court to the former Rwandan businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga.

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"The Appeals Chamber affirms the sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment imposed on Gaspard Kanyarukiga by the Trial Chamber to run as of this day,’’ said Presiding Judge Patrick Robinson.

On November 1, 2010, the lower court convicted Kanyarugika of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity for planning, with others, the demolition of Nyange church (Kivumu commune, western Rwanda), on April 16, 1994. About 2,000 Tutsis, who had taken refuge in  the church were killed.

Kanyarukiga had appealed both conviction and sentence. However, according to the judgment, he failed to demonstrate that the Trial Chamber violated his fair trial rights, and erred in its assessment of defence of alibi.

The Appeals Chamber categorically stated that it dismissed Kanyarukiga’s appeal in its entirety alongside that of the prosecution which included claim that the Trial Chamber erred in assessing the gravity of Kanyarugika’s crimes.

The businessman is not the only Rwandan convicted for Nyange church massacre. The parish's priest, Athanase Seromba, is currently serving a life in prison sentence. Clement Kayishema, former prefect of Kibuye, has been  imprisoned for the remainderof his life and Grégoire Ndahimana, former mayor of the commune, was sentenced to a 15-year jail term. He has filed an appeal. 

Kanyarukiga was arrested in South Africa on July 16, 2004 and transferred to Arusha three days later. His trial took off on August 31, 2008.