The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today ordered the early release of Tharcisse Muvunyi from the UN Detention Facility in Arusha with immediate effect.
Muvunyi, former Commander of Ecole Sous-Officiers (ESO), was first convicted by Trial Chamber II of the Tribunal on 12 September 2006 for multiple acts of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and other inhumane acts and was on that date sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. On appeal, all convictions and sentence were set aside, and a re-trial was ordered on one allegation of direct and public incitement to commit genocide.
At re-trial, on 11 February 2010, Trial Chamber III of the Tribunal found Muvunyi guilty of the charge and sentenced him to fifteen years imprisonment with credit for time served from 5 February 2000. The Appeals Chamber confirmed this conviction and sentence on 1 April 2011.
On 18 April 2011, Muvunyi wrote to the President of the ICTR, requesting early release since two thirds of his sentence had already been served.
In the 6 March 2012 decision signed by the ICTR President Judge Vagn Joensen it was decided that early release was now appropriate since more than three-fourths of Muvunyi’s sentence had been served.Moreover, Muvunyi had now served more than twelve years of his fifteen year sentence, meaning that his time served is equal to or exceeds that of prisoners who were sentenced at the lesser end of the spectrum for similar crimes.