Arusha, December 18, 2012 (FH) – The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has dismissed the motion for provisional released lodged by genocide-convict and ex-President of the then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Matthieu Ngirumpatse.

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In its decision dated December 14, 2012, the Chamber found that in light of the seriousness of the offences and the penalty imposed on Ngirumpatse, the time spent in detention, its potential impact on his health and the length of the proceedings do not constitute an acute justification for the purposes of provisional release.

“The Appeals Chamber is therefore not satisfied that special circumstances warranting Ngirumpatse’s provisional release exist,” reads part of the decision signed by presiding Judge Theodor Meron.

On September 13, 2012, Ngirumpatse lodged the motion, seeking for provisional release within the territory of the United Republic of Tanzania on such conditions as the Chamber may deem appropriate, arguing that a life sentence does not preclude his possibility of being provisionally released.

He also cited his advanced age, poor health condition and exemplary conduct throughout the proceedings as reasons to support his request. Furthermore, he argued, he has spent more than 14 years in provisional detention and the appeal proceedings will be significantly delayed for translation reasons.

The prosecution, on the other hand, had objected to the request, submitting that the seriousness of the offences of which Ngirumpatse was found guilty and the fact that he was sentenced to life imprisonment are factors which militate against granting him provisional release.

On December 21, 2011, a Trial Chamber convicted Ngirumpatse and his co-top MRND Vice-President, Edouard Karemera of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment. The two convicts and the prosecution have lodged appeals against the judgment.

Ngirumpatse (73) had been in detention since June 11, 1998, when he was arrested in Mali and transferred to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, a month later.