UN court for Rwanda upholds sentences of ex-political leaders News
UN court for Rwanda upholds sentences of ex-political leaders

[JURIST] The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Monday affirmed [judgment, PDF; press release] the convictions of ex-interior minister Edouard Karemera and ex-National Party chairman Matthieu Ngirumpatse for their roles in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [UNCHR backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The former political party leaders were sentenced [JURIST report] to life in prison in December 2011 after the court found that the two were in a “joint criminal enterprise” intent on exterminating Tutsis and bore “superior responsibility” for the then-ruling National Revolutionary Movement for Development (NRMD) party’s youth wing, which conducted most of the crimes. The court also found that the pair bore extended liability for the widespread sexual assaults and rapes of Tutsi women and girls. Though the Appeals Chamber did reverse some of the Trial Chamber’s findings, this did not result in the overturning in any of their convictions and their sentences of life imprisonment were affirmed.

The ICTR continues to try suspects and hear appeals for crimes that occurred during the 1994 massacre where approximately 800,000 people were killed. In July the ICTR unanimously affirmed [JURIST report] a 30-year jail sentence for former army chief Augustin Bizimungu for the role he played in the genocide. In March Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported that significant progress had been made [JURIST report] 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.