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ICTR acquits Rwandan priest accused of genocide

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] Tuesday acquitted [ICTR press release] Catholic priest Hormisdas Nsengimana [case materials; Trial Watch profile] and ordered his immediate release. Nsengimma had been indicted [JURIST report] on four counts [indictment, PDF] of collaborating and ordering students to collaborate with the marauding Rwandan interahamwe [BBC backgrounder], as well as personally killing Tutsis during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder]. A three-judge ICTR panel that included Erik Mose [official profile], presiding, Sergei Alekseevich Egorov [official profile] and Florence Rita Arrey [official profile] concluded there was insufficient factual and legal basis to convict Nsengimana. Nsengimana was arrested in Cameroon in March 2002 and made his initial appearance before the ICTR in April 2002. His trial began in June 22, 2007 and concluded in September 2008.

On Monday, the appeals chamber of the ICTR overturned [judgment, PDF; press release] the genocide conviction and 20-year prison sentence for Protais Zigiranyirazo [case materials; Trial Watch profile], ruling [JURIST report] that the the prosecution had lacked sufficient evidence to convict him. The ICTR was established to try genocide suspects for crimes occurring during the 1994 Rwandan conflict between Hutus and Tutsis in which approximately 800,000 people, primarily Tutsis, died.

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