Kibuye, a "successful" legal saga

06 September 2004 by Thierry Cruvellier

In the space of a week, just before the summer recess, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has handed down one life sentence, confirmed a second and heard the parties debate two other appeal verdicts. The four cases all concern Rwandan personalities prosecuted for crimes committed in 1994 in the same region, eastern Kibuye.

No other event before the Arusha court has been exposed, debated, argued and judged as much as the genocide of Kibuye's Tutsis. On 9 July, the Appeals Court upheld the life sentence of the former Information Minister Eliezer Niyitegeka who was found guilty of genocide committed in his prefecture of Kibuye. Less than a week later on 15 July came the trial chamber verdict against his former government colleague, the Finance Minister Emmanuel Ndindabahizi: life imprisonment for crimes committed, once again, in Kibuye. Both men were convicted for offences that had little to do with their government posts. Their trials were a depiction of the hunting down of Tutsis on a local level, including the now-famous massacre of tens of thousands who had sought refuge in the Bisisero hills. The priest Elizaphan Ntakirutimana and his son Dr. GĂ©rard Ntakirutimana, were also prosecuted for the crimes. Between 7 and 9 July, they attempted to convince the appeal court judges to overturn their conviction of 10 and 25 years imprisonment.

A third of defendants tried

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