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Rwanda genocide tribunal hears appeal of former official

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Tuesday heard oral arguments [press release] in the appeal of Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, the former Sub-Prefect of the southern region of Gisagara. The five judges composing the Appeals Chamber will decide whether the Trial Chamber committed a number of errors of law and fact, as alleged by Ntawukulilyayo, who seeks a reversal of his conviction, an acquittal and immediate release or, in the alternative, a reduction of his sentence. Ntawukulilyayo was indicted [case materials] in 2005 on charges of genocide, complicity in genocide and public incitement to commit genocide for falsely promising protection to ethnic minority Tutsi refugees, all of which occurred during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. In August 2010, the Trial Chamber found him guilty of genocide, and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison [JURIST report].

The ITCR continues to prosecute individuals for their involvement in the 1994 genocide. In June, the court convicted and sentenced [JURIST report] six individuals, including the first female to be charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. The six were charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity including extermination, murder, persecution and other inhumane acts. The court also charged Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Minister of Women's Development and first female genocide criminal, and her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali with rape. The court determined that the systematic killing of thousands of ethnic Tutsi authorized and facilitated by the individuals during the genocide amounted to crimes against humanity. Nyiramasuhuko was sentenced to life in prison based on the finding that she was guilty of seven of the 11 charges against her. The varying sentences for the other individuals range from 25 years in prison to life sentences. The six, who were arrested 16 years ago, will receive credit for time served.

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