Rwanda Genocide convicts set free
Posted Wednesday, February 6 2013 at 02:00
The acquittal of former ministers in the government that oversaw the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi has been met with dismay, with officials describing it as revisionism and negating the Genocide.
Justin Mugenzi was Minister of Trade during the 1994 Genocide, while Prosper Mugiraneza was Public Service minister.
A Trial Chamber by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda had on September 30, 2011, found both men guilty of conspiracy to commit Genocide and direct and public incitement to commit Genocide and sentenced them to 30 years in jail.
But the tribunal’s Appeals Chamber presided by American judge Theodor Meron, yesterday, overturned the conviction and ordered their release, leaving Genocide survivors and Rwandans in general in shock.
Dr Jean Pierre Dusingizemungu, the president of Ibuka, an umbrella body of Genocide survivors, expressed surprise at the tribunal’s stand.
He said much as the tribunal has a time limit of closing shop next year, it should not rush to make judgments that leave victims of Genocide even more psychologically tortured and disrespected.
Mugenzi and Mugiraneza were convicted of participating in the removal of Butare’s Tutsi Prefect, Jean-Baptiste Habyalimana, and based on their participation in a joint criminal enterprise at the installation ceremony where interim president Theodore Sindikubwabo gave a speech inciting the killing of the Tutsi.