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Rwanda genocide tribunal annuls conviction of ex-army officer

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] quashed a 25-year prison sentence against former Rwandan army officer Tharcisse Muvunyi [ICTR case materials] Friday, ruling that there was insufficient evidence for his conviction on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Muvunyi will face a retrial on a charge of inciting genocide. Muvunyi is accused [indictment, PDF] of participating in several public meetings during the months of April and May 1994, during which he and other local government officials allegedly called on the Hutu majority population to kill Tutsi civilians. Muvunyi, the former Commander of a Rwandan military school, was convicted [JURIST report; ICTR judgment and sentence, PDF] in September 2006 for his role in the ethnic separation and subsequent killing of orphaned children and the killing of at least 140 students and Red Cross workers. AFP has more.

The ICTR was established in 1995 to try those suspected of having committed genocide during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder]. The mandate for the ICTR is set to expire in December 2008, although the court has announced that it will be unable to complete its work [JURIST report] before that time. In June, the prosecutor of the ICTR asked the UN Security Council [official website] to extend the ICTR's mandate [JURIST report] so that the tribunal can complete its trials.

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