The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, composed of Judge Theodor Meron, presiding, Judge Mehmet Güney, Judge Fausto Pocar, Judge Liu Daqun and Judge Carmel Agius, today heard oral arguments regarding the appeal lodged by Protais Zigiranyirazo and the Prosecution against the Judgement rendered by Trial Chamber III on 18 December 2008.
The Trial Chamber found Zigiranyirazo guilty of committing genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity, by participating in a joint criminal enterprise to kill Tutsis at Kesho Hill, in Gisenyi Prefecture, on 8 April 1994, and sentenced him to two terms of 20 years of imprisonment. He was also found guilty of aiding and abetting genocide in relation to the killing of Tutsis at a roadblock in the Kiyovu area of Kigali and sentenced to one term of 15 years of imprisonment. The Trial Chamber ordered that these sentences be served concurrently.
Zigiranyirazo alleges that the Trial Chamber committed numerous errors of law and fact, and accordingly, requests that the Appeals Chamber overturn his convictions or, in the alternative, reduce his sentence. The Prosecution appeals the sentences imposed by the Trial Chamber and requests the Appeals Chamber to impose a life sentence or, alternatively, a total effective sentence, greater than 20 years of imprisonment.
Zigiranyirazo was born on 2 February 1938 in the Giciye Commune, Gisenyi Prefecture, Rwanda. He was the brother-in-law of the late former President of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana. Zigiranyirazo became a Member of Parliament in 1969. In 1973, he was appointed Prefect of Kibuye and then served as Prefect of Ruhengeri from 1974 to 1989. After his resignation, he studied in Canada and returned to Rwanda in 1993 to work as a businessman.