The Appeals Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today upheld the convictions of a senior Pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Mugonero, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, and his son Dr. Gérard Ntakirutimana, a medical practitioner. The sentences of 10 years and 25 years in prison, respectively, imposed by the Tribunal’s Trial Chamber I on 19 February 2003, were also confirmed.
The Appeals Chamber, composed of Judges Theodor Meron (United States of America) presiding, Florence Mumba (Zambia), Mehmet Güney (Turkey), Wolfgang Schomburg (Germany) and Inés M. Weinberg de Roca (Argentina), was seized of appeals by Elizaphan and Gérard Ntakirutimana, and by the Prosecution against the Trial Chamber judgment. Elizaphan and Gérard Ntakirutimana appealed all the factual findings against them and also alleged a number of legal errors. The Prosecution presented six grounds of appeal including errors of law related to the genocide convictions of Elizaphan and Gérard Ntakirutimana. The Prosecution also requested that the Appeals Chamber increase the sentence of Elizaphan Ntakirutimana to 20 years and that of Gérard Ntakirutimana to life imprisonment.
In its judgment, the Appeals Chamber affirmed the conviction of Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana for aiding and abetting genocide and entered a conviction for aiding and abetting extermination as a crime against humanity after reversing his acquittal for the events which occurred in Bisesero. However, the Appeals Chamber quashed Elizaphan Ntakirutimana’s conviction for aiding and abetting genocide for his participation in events which occurred at Mugonero.
In the case of Gérard Ntakirutimana, the Appeals Chamber affirmed his conviction for genocide and entered a conviction for murder as a crime against humanity in relation to the killing of Charles Ukobizaba. The Appeals Chamber also convicted Gérard Ntakirutimana for aiding and abetting extermination as a crime against humanity for the procurement of gendarmes and ammunition for the attack on the Mugonero complex.
The Appeals Chamber affirmed Gérard Ntakirutimana’s conviction for genocide in relation to events which occurred at Bisesero, but found that his responsibility was that of an aider and abettor. However, the Appeals Chamber quashed Gérard Ntakirutimana’s conviction for murder as a crime against humanity under the Bisesero Indictment. The Defence and Prosecution appeals were dismissed in all other respects. Their imprisonment will be subject to credit being given under Rule 101 (D), which states that, “credit shall be given to convicted person for the period, if any during which the convicted person was detained in custody pending his surrender to the Tribunal or pending trial or appeal”.