Georges Omar Ruggiu the only non-Rwandese convicted and sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was today surrendered to a high level delegation of the International Police Cooperation Service of the Italian Ministry of Interior. Mr. Ruggiu was thereafter transferred by a special Italian Air Force flight to Italy where he is to serve the remainder of his sentence.
The transfer follows an agreement on enforcement of sentences signed between the Government of Italy and the United Nations on 17 March 2004 and the recent decision of the fourth Criminal Section of the Appeals Court of Rome recognizing the ICTR sentence and authorizing its enforcement in Italy.
Mr. Ruggiu, born on 12 October 1957 in Verviers province of Liege, Belgium worked with RTLM from 6 January 1994 to 14 July 1994, at the time of genocide in Rwanda. He was arrested during the ICTR Prosecutor’s operation codenamed NAKI (Nairobi-Kenya) on 23 July 1997 in Mombasa, Kenya, by the Kenyan authorities. He was immediately transferred to the Tribunal’s detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania.
Following his guilty plea to two counts charging him with direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, Mr. Ruggiu, a former journalist and broadcaster with Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) was sentenced on 1 June 2000 to 12 years in prison by the Trial Chamber I then composed of Judges Navanethem Pillay, presiding, Erik Møse and Pavel Dolenc.
Mr. Ruggiu was the eighth accused person to be convicted by the Tribunal and the third to plead guilty to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Rwanda in 1994.