The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Tuesday reduced the sentence [judgment, PDF; press release] of Aloys Ntabakuze [ICTR materials], a former Rwandan army officer convicted of genocide and related crimes, and affirmed the sentences of two others. Ntabakuze's sentence was reduced from life in prison to 35 years after the court heard his appeal [JURIST report] last fall. He was convicted [JURIST report] in 2008 of genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity, but he sought to overturn those convictions for lack of evidence. The appeals chamber also affirmed a life sentence [judgment, PDF] for Lt. Idelphonse Hategekimana [case materials] and a 30-year sentence [judgment, PDF] for Gaspard Kanyarugika [case materials]. Hategekimana was convicted [JURIST report] in 2010 on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Kanyarugika was convicted on similar charges [JURIST report]. The judge ordered that Kanyarugika be given credit for time served since his arrest in 2004.
The UN-backed ICTR continues its work to prosecute those most responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], but it has now begun transferring certain cases to Rwandan national courts. Last month, the court confirmed and proceeded with the transfer [JURIST report] of former Rwandan pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi [case materials], making him the first ICTR genocide suspect to be transferred to a national court. Uwinkindi was charged in 2001 with genocide and crimes against humanity. In December, the ICTR upheld the decision to transfer [JURIST report] the case to a Rwandan court. The ICTR initially ordered the transfer [JURIST report] in June under Rule 11 bis, which authorizes the transfer of cases to appropriate national jurisdictions. Uwinkindi pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] in 2010. His case is the first of three that have been considered for transfer to Rwanda. The other two are against Fulgence Kayishema [case materials; JURIST report], a former police inspector, and Charles Sikubwabo [case materials], former Bourgmestre of Gishyita, Kibuye Prefecture.