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Key ICTR witnesses threatening to boycott genocide trials after acquittals: report

[JURIST] Groups representing key witnesses appearing before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] told Reuters Saturday that they may no longer participate in court trials following the acquittal of two suspects involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder]. The umbrella organization for the various survivor groups in Rwanda, IBUKA [advocacy website, in French], threatened [Reuters report] that if the ICTR did not reverse its decisions, the relationship between the ICTR and the survivor groups will end. Approximately 200 protesters marched in Kigali in opposition the ICTR's decisions.

The protests are in response to two decisions by the ICTR last week. On Tuesday, the ICTR overturned [JURIST report] the conviction and 20-year prison sentence of Protais Zigiranyirazo [case materials; Trial Watch profile]. The ICTR found that there was not sufficient evidence to convict him. Also on Tuesday, the ICTR acquitted [JURIST report] Catholic priest Hormisdas Nsengimana [case materials; Trial Watch profile] and ordered his immediate release. A three-judge panel concluded there was insufficient factual and legal basis to convict Nsengimana.

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