Arusha, February 16, 2014 (FH) –  The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week acquitted two former Rwandan army officers. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court (ICC) held confirmation of charges hearings in the case of Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda.

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ICTRTwo new acquittals: The ICTR Appeals Chamber on Tuesday acquitted two former senior military commanders who had been convicted by the lower court. In Kigali, genocide survivors expressed outrage at the decision. At the time of the 1994 genocide, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana was head of the Rwandan gendarmerie, while Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye was commander of an elite unit know as the reconnaissance battalion. The lower court had sentenced Ndindiliyimana to 11 years in jail and Nzuwonemeye to 20 years. A

Appeals hearing for MRND leaders: The Appeals Chamber of the ICTR on Tuesday concluded hearings for Matthieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, former president and vice-president respectively of the MRND political party. The lower court sentenced both men to life in prison for their role in the 1994 genocide. Their defence lawyers argued that the two men had no control over their party members, saying a political party is not the same as a military or government structure.

ICCConfirmation of charges hearings in Ntaganda case: A pre-trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday concluded confirmation of charges hearings in the case of Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda. As the hearings opened on Monday, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda alleged that Ntaganda and his rebel movement tried in 2002 and 2003 to remove people who were not members of the Hema ethnic group from Ituri district, in the northeast Democratic Republic of Congo. Ntaganda’s lawyer Marc Desalliers argued that his client, a Tutsi from North Kivu province, could not have been involved in inter-communal violence in Ituri.

Bensouda appeals against use of child soldiers: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday called on the international community to fight the use of child soldiers, which she called an “abominable crime”. Bensouda’s call came in a statement marking International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers (February 13). Several individuals indicted by the ICC have been charged with the crime of using child soldiers. 

NEXT WEEKFrance: The Paris Appeals Court is to continue hearings in the trial of Captain Pascal Simbikangwa, France’s first trial linked to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

ICC: The trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang is scheduled to resume on Monday before the ICC.