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The Appeals Chamber Hears Oral Arguments in the Nyiramasuhuko et al. Case

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, composed of Judges Fausto Pocar, presiding, Liu Daqun, Carmel Agius, Khalida Rachid Khan, and Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov heard the oral arguments in the appeals lodged by Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, Sylvain Nsabimana, Alphonse Nteziryayo, Joseph Kanyabashi, Élie Ndayambaje, and the Prosecution against the Judgement pronounced by Trial Chamber II on 24 June 2011 and filed in writing on 14 July 2011. The hearing of these seven appeals took place from Tuesday, 14 April 2015 through Wednesday, 22 April 2015.

The Trial Chamber found Nyiramasuhuko, Ntahobali, Nsabimana, Kanyabashi, and Ndayambaje guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity (extermination, persecution, and, for Nyiramasuhuko and Ntahobali only, rapes), and serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II (violence to life and, for Nyiramasuhuko and Ntahobali only, outrages upon personal dignity) for crimes committed in Butare Prefecture from April into June 1994. Nyiramasuhuko was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit genocide and Nteziryayo, Kanyabashi, and Ndayambaje were found guilty of direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to public addresses made in April, May, and June 1994 in Butare Prefecture. The Trial Chamber sentenced Nyiramasuhuko, Ntahobali, and Ndayambaje to life imprisonment, Nsabimana to 25 years of imprisonment, Nteziryayo to 30 years of imprisonment, and Kanyabashi to 35 years of imprisonment.

Nyiramasuhuko, Ntahobali, Nsabimana, Nteziryayo, Kanyabashi, and Ndayambaje contend that the Trial Chamber committed a number of errors of law and fact and request the Appeals Chamber to stay the proceedings, overturn their convictions, or reduce their sentences. The Prosecution submits that the Trial Chamber erred in not finding Kanyabashi responsible in relation to the speech he gave at the swearing-in ceremony of Nsabimana as the new prefect of Butare held on 19 April 1994. It requests that Kanyabashi be convicted of genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide on this basis and that the Appeals Chamber impose a life sentence or increase his sentence.

At the time of the relevant events, Nyiramasuhuko was Minister of Family and Women’s Development in the Interim Government of Rwanda, Ntahobali was a student and part-time manager of Hotel Ihuliro, Nsabimana served as prefect of Butare from 19 April 1994 until 17 June 1994, Nteziryayo was Director of Communal Police Matters in the Ministry of Interior and Communal Development until 17 June 1994 when he was appointed prefect of Butare, Kanyabashi was bourgmestre of Ngoma Commune in Butare Prefecture, and Ndayambaje served as bourgmestre of Muganza Commune from 18 June 1994.

The Nyiramasuhuko et al. case is the last case pending before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

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