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Rwanda rights advocate who probed rape claim against judge sentenced for genocide role

[JURIST] Francois-Xavier Byuma, vice-president of the board of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LIPRODHOR) [advocacy website, in French] and president of the Rwandan Association for the Protection and Promotion of the Child, was sentenced to 19 years in prison Sunday by a local gacaca court [official website; Wikipedia backgrounder] for colluding with criminals, and beating and injuring a woman during the 1994 Rwanda [JURIST news archive] genocide. Byuma says he will appeal the sentence.

Prior to his May 16 arrest [JURIST report], Byuma had been investigating the rape of a 17-year-old girl. Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported that an initial investigation suggested that the presiding judge of the gacaca court was the rapist [AI report]. Byuma's organization has in the past been critical of the gacacas, which were established to ease the strain of genocide cases on Rwanda's official criminal courts, characterizing some to be corrupt or dangerous [LIPRODHOR reports, in French]. AFP has more.

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