UN special court acquits two Rwanda officials in 1994 genocide

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Tuesday 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 [judgment, PDF]. In May the trial chamber convicted [ICTR report] Ndindiliyimana of genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity and murder as a serious violation of Article Three of the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II [texts] for responsibility in the attacks of April 1994, and Nzuwonemeye of aiding and abetting [NYT report] in the killing of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. The appeals chamber found errors in the trial chamber's assessment of the evidence relating to Ndindiliyimana's conviction, which was based on his superior responsibility over certain participants in attacks. The appeals chamber also found errors of law and fact that led to them to conclude that Nzuwonemeye could not be held responsible for the killing of the prime minister.

Many countries have attempted to assist the ICTR in locating and bringing to justice those responsible for war crimes committed during the Rwandan genocide. Earlier this month a French court opened trial [JURIST report] against former Rwandan intelligence chief Pascal Simbikangwa in the country's first trial of a suspect related to the genocide. In January UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai praised [JURIST report] Rwandan authorities' accomplishments in developing infrastructure and ensuring stability and security 1994. 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 1994 Rwandan genocide. In April French law enforcement officials arrested [JURIST report] Tite Barahira, a former Rwandan leader, for conspiracy to commit genocide. In January Rwandan genocide suspect Innocent Musabyimana was arrested [JURIST report] in France on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. In December the ICTR convicted [JURIST report] former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware, sentencing him to 35 years in prison and concluding the tribunal's final trial. Ngirabatware was found guilty on charges of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and rape as a crime against humanity. In July 2012 the ICTR Residual Mechanism began its work [UN News Centre report] assisting with the winding down of the ICTR and assuring that all remaining fugitives of the Rwandan genocide face justice.

 

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