The retrial of Tharcisse Muvunyi, the former commander of the École des Sous Officers (ESO) in Butare Prefecture begantoday, before Trial Chamber III composed of Judges Dennis Byron, Presiding, Gberdao Gustav Kam and Vagn Joensen.
In its opening remarks, the Prosecution said it would provide evidence proving that the accused who was the most senior military officer in Butare Prefecture expressed through traditional Kinyarwandan proverbs anti-Tutsi sentiments at a meeting in Gikore Trading Centre attended by local Hutu population and militia.
The new trial follows the Appeals Chamber judgment of 29 August 2008 in which the Appeals Chamber overturned Muvunyi’s convictions on counts of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide based on a speech the accused gave in Gikonko, and other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity. The Appeals Chamber also quashed Muvunyi’s conviction for direct and public incitement to commit genocide based on a speech he purportedly gave at the Gikore Trade Center and ordered a retrial limited to the allegations considered in relation to this incident. The Appeals Chamber then quashed the sentence of 25 years of imprisonment entered by Trial Chamber II. The Appeals Chamber further ordered Mr. Muvunyi to remain in the custody of the Tribunal pending his retrial.
The first trial was before Trial Chamber II consisting of Judges Asoka de Silva, Presiding, Flavia Lattanzi and Florence Rita Arrey.
The prosecution expects to present its case in three days during which it intends to call 5 factual witnesses and a socio-linguistic expert. The Prosecution team is led by Senior Trial Attorney, Charles Adeogun-Phillips, assisted by Trial Attorney Ibukunolu Alao Babajide while the Defence team is led by William E. Taylor (USA).