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Appeals Chamber Increases Gacumbitsi’s Sentence to Life and Reduces Imanishimwe’s to Twelve Years

The Appeals Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today provided reasons for its judgement in the Ntagerura et al. case, reducing Samuel Imanishimwe’s sentence from 27 to 12 years imprisonment and recalling that it had confirmed the acquittals of André Ntagerura, former Minister of Transport and Communications, and Emmanuel Bagambiki, former Prefect of Cyangugu on 8 February 2006. The Appeals Chamber also upheld the conviction of Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, former Mayor of the Commune of Rusomo, and increased his sentence from 30 years to imprisonment for the rest of his life.

Ntagerura et al.

The Appeals Chamber composed of Judges Fausto Pocar, presiding, Mehmet Güney, Andrésia Vaz, Theodor Meron, and Wolfgang Schomburg allowed Samuel Imanishimwe’s first ground of appeal, quashing his convictions for genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity and serious violations of Article 3 Common of the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II for the events which took place at the Gashirabwoba football stadium.

The Appeals Chamber however, affirmed the convictions entered against Imanishimwe for murder, imprisonment and torture as crimes against humanity and for murder, torture and cruel treatment as serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II.

On 25 February 2004 Trial Chamber III found Imanishimwe guilty of four counts of crimes against humanity (murder, imprisonment, torture, and extermination), one count of genocide and one count of serious violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II.

Imanishimwe was arrested in Kenya on 11 August 1997 and transferred to the Tribunal’s detention facility in Arusha on the same day. Ntagerura was arrested in Cameroon on 27 March 1996 and transferred to Arusha on 23 January 1997. Bagambiki was arrested in Togo on 5 June 1998 and transferred to Arusha on 10 July 1998.


The Appeals Chamber composed of Judges Mohamed Shahabuddeen, presiding, Mehmet Güney, Liu Daqun, Theodor Meron and Wolfgang Schomburg, dismissed Gacumbitsi’s appeal in its entirety. Gacumbitsi had appealed against his conviction and challenged his sentence alleging error in certain interlocutory decisions of the Trial Chamber and errors relating to his convictions.

The Appeals Chamber allowed the Prosecution’s appeal in part. It held that Gacumbitsi was responsible for ordering acts of genocide, extermination, murder, and rape committed not only by the communal police, but also by the other perpetrators who participated in the attacks at Nyarubuye Parish and at Kigarama.

Additionally, the Appeals Chamber found by majority, Judge Güney and Judge Meron dissenting, that Gacumbitsiaided and abetted the murders of two Tutsi tenants, Marie and Béatrice, whom he expelled from their home and who were killed later that night. Consequently, the Appeals Chamber entered a new conviction for murder as a crime against humanity under Count 4 of the Indictment.

Sylvestre Gacumbitsi was born in 1943 in Rusumo commune, Kiungo Prefecture, Rwanda. He was arrested on 20 June 2001 in Mukugwa refugee camp in Kigoma, western Tanzania. He was immediately transferred to the UN detention Facility in Arusha.

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