The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal has convicted three former Rwandan officers for their participation in the genocide in 1994 of Tutsi along with some moderate Hutu.
The Appeals Chamber delivered on Tuesday three verdicts in the cases of former Rwandan military officials, Major Aloys Ntabakuze and Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, in addition to businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga.
Reports say the Appeals Chamber reduced the sentence of Ntabakuze from life to 35 years and affirmed both the life sentence of Hategekimana and the 30 year sentence of Kanyarukiga
Today, the United States welcomes ICTR judgements of the three individuals.
Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland reported that the Appeals Chamber of the ICTR affirmed the convictions of these three individuals for genocide and crimes against humanity, among other crimes.
Although some counts against Ntabakuze were set aside by the Appeals Chamber, the decision indicates a careful, transparent, and balanced judicial process, Ms. Nuland underlined.
Ms. Nuland reports that the three were sentenced to 30 years, 35 years, and life in prison, respectively.
Ntabakuze and Hategekimana were both officers in the Rwandan Army (commander and lieutenant).
Ntabakuze was an ex-Commander of the Rwandan Para-Commando Battalion and was arrested in Kenya on July, 1997. On December 2008, he was found guilty by Trial Chamber I of genocide, crimes against humanity particularly murder, extermination, persecution, and other inhumane acts and serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and violence to life for murders of Tutsi civilians.
Hategekimana was arrested in Congo Brazzaville on 16th February 2003. He was alleged to have commanded the small military camp in Butare during the Genocide. He was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for his role in ordering the massacre of Tutsi refugees at the Ngoma church.
Kanyarukiga, a businessman, was convicted of genocide based on his participation in the planning of the destruction of a church in Kivumu, resulting in the death of approximately 2,000 civilians.
Ms. Nuland notes that there are still nine ICTR fugitives at-large.
“The United States urges all countries to redouble their cooperation with the ICTR so that these fugitives and perpetartors of Rwandan genocide can be expeditiously brought to justice.” -Ms. Nuland
Nine judges are set to finish the work of the United Nations tribunal dealing with the worst war crimes committed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda as they were sworn-in on Wednesday.
UN International Residual Mechanism of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was set up in 2010 which is based in Arusha, Tanzania.
The sworn-in judges include Judge Florence Arrey, Solomy B. Bossa, Vagn Prusse Joensen, Gberdao G. Kam, Joseph C. Masanche, Lee Muthoga, Seon K. Park, Mparany M. R. Rajohnson, and William H. Sekule.
The ICTR was set up by the Security Council in the wake of the genocide, in which it is estimated that more 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates were killed, mainly by machete, during a period of about 100 days starting on 6th of April 1994.
The 1994 Rwandan genocide claimed 800,000 lives. Mostly those belonging to the Tutsi tribe were slaughtered but machetes also slashed many moderate Hutus who called for peaceful coexistence. The official history claims that the genocide, like tsunamis or tornadoes, could have neither be predicted nor prevented.