UN court for Rwanda upholds sentence of ex-military chief News
UN court for Rwanda upholds sentence of ex-military chief

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Monday unanimously affirmed a 30-year jail sentence [judgment summary, PDF; press release] for former army chief Augustin Bizimungu [BBC profile] for his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [UNCHR backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Bizimungu was found guilty [JURIST report] in May 2011 on six counts of genocide and crimes against humanity for murder, extermination and rape in addition to violations of Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions [text]. The court found that Bizimungu, who is among the most senior figures to be tried by the ICTR, had called for the killing of ethnic Tutsis [AFP report] a few days before he was made army chief, and that he had complete control over the men he commanded who were involved in the massacres. Despite claims from Bizimungu during his appeal hearing that he had “urged military discipline and respect for the dignity of human life,” prosecutor Abdoulaye Seye has expressed a desire for a heavier sentence.

In March Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that significant progress had been made in national and international courts to bring to justice those responsible for the Rwandan genocide. In February the ICTR announced that Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the former chief of staff of the Rwandan parliamentary police, and Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, the former commander of a military reconnaissance battalion, had been acquitted on appeal [JURIST report]. In November a French appeals court in Paris approved the extradition [JURIST report] of Claude Muhayimana and Innocent Musabyimana, two suspects wanted in connection with the genocide. Last April French law enforcement officials arrested [JURIST report] Tite Barahira, a former Rwandan leader, for conspiracy to commit genocide. In December 2012 the ICTR convicted [JURIST report] former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware, sentencing him to 35 years in prison on charges of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and rape as a crime against humanity.