Arusha, October 3, 2014 (FH) – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week confirmed sentences of life imprisonment for the top two leaders of Rwanda’s former presidential party. Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court (ICC) ordered the Kenyan President to be present in court for an October 8 status conference.

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ICCLife sentences confirmed for MRND leaders: The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday confirmed life sentences for two men who were top leaders of Rwanda’s former presidential party MRND during the 1994 genocide. Matthieu Ngirumpatse was MRND president, while Edouard Karemera was vice-president. The MRND was the party of former Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana. The Appeals Chamber cancelled some of the lower court’s conclusions but confirmed the guilty verdict on the two men for genocide and crimes against humanity committed across Rwanda in 1994 by members of their party, especially the notorious MRND Interahamwe militia.

ICCConfirmation of charges hearings for Blé Goudé: From Monday to Thursday this week, the ICC held confirmation of charges hearings in the case of former Ivorian Youth Minister Charles Blé Goudé, who was close to ex-president Laurent Gbagbo. The aim for the prosecution was to convince the judges their case is strong enough to commit the suspect to trial. The judges are expected to hand down their decision by mid-January 2015.

ICCICC orders Kenyan President to come to Court: The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday rejected a request from Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta asking permission not to personally attend a hearing on October 8 to prepare his crimes against humanity trial. A majority of the judges deemed that the physical presence of the accused was necessary in the interests of justice. They also stressed that this status conference was an important step in the procedures against Kenyatta.

ICCClosing arguments postponed in Bemba case: The ICC on Thursday postponed to November 10 the closing arguments of prosecution and defence in the trial of Congolese Senator and former vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba. Bemba is charged with crimes against humanity committed in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003. The final arguments had previously been scheduled to start on October 13.