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Rwanda genocide tribunal reduces life sentence of ex-army colonel

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Wednesday reduced the sentence [press release] of Theoneste Bagosora [ICTR materials], called the "kingpin" of the 1994 Rwandan genocide [JURIST news archive], from life to 35 years in prison. The court overturned several of his convictions but affirmed his convictions for genocide and crimes against humanity. The ICTR also reduced the life sentence of Anatole Nsengiyumva [ICTR materials] to 15 years, reversing several of his convictions. He was released for time served. Bagosora served a senior official in the Rwandan Ministry of Defence, and Nsengiyumya was the Commander of the Gisenyi Operational Sector.

Last week, top officials of the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] told the UN Security Council [official website] that international cooperation [JURIST report] in tracking and arresting fugitives is vital to completion of the tribunals' mandates. This year saw the arrests of the last two remaining fugitives wanted by the ICTY, but nine fugitives sought by ICTR have continued to escape capture, three of whom are among the most high-ranking of the accused. ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow called on the Member States of the Great Lakes Conference to provide information and aid in the apprehension of the remaining fugitives, as the trial work of the ICTR is due to be finished by the end of the second quarter of 2012, with appeals work finished by early 2014. Last month the two presidents told the UN General Assembly [official website] that the tribunals are in need of experienced staff to complete their work [JURIST report], warning of the difficulties in retaining staff at the ICTY and the ICTR because both tribunals are nearing the end of their work and employees are leaving for more permanent jobs.

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