The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, composed of Judges Theodor Meron, presiding, Patrick Robinson, Liu Daqun, Andrésia Vaz, and Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov, today delivered the judgement in the case of Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza v. The Prosecutor.
On 30 September 2011, Trial Chamber II of the Tribunal convicted Mugenzi and Mugiraneza for conspiracy to commit genocide based on their roles in the removal of Jean-Baptiste Habyalimana from his post as the prefect of Butare Prefecture on 17 April 1994. The Trial Chamber also convicted Mugenzi and Mugiraneza for direct and public incitement to commit genocide based on their roles in the installation ceremony of Sylvain Nsabimana as the new prefect of Butare Prefecture on 19 April 1994. The Trial Chamber sentenced each of them to a single sentence of 30 years of imprisonment. Mugenzi and Mugiraneza appealed against their respective convictions and sentences.
The Appeals Chamber dismissed, Judge Robinson dissenting in part, Mugenzi’s and Mugiraneza’s appeals alleging violations of their right to a fair trial. The Appeals Chamber reversed Mugenzi’s and Mugiraneza’s convictions for conspiracy to commit genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide due to errors in the Trial Chamber’s assessment of circumstantial evidence. Accordingly, the Appeals Chamber entered a verdict of acquittal as to Mugenzi and Mugiraneza and ordered their immediate release from the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania. Judge Liu dissented on the reversal of the convictions for conspiracy to commit genocide.
Mugenzi was born in 1939 in Rukara Commune, Kibungo Prefecture, Rwanda. During the relevant events, he was the chairman of the Parti libéral and Minister of Trade and Industry. Mugiraneza was born in 1957 in Kigarama Commune, Kibungo Prefecture, Rwanda. In April 1994, he was Minister of Civil Service.
This judgement brings the total number of appeal judgements rendered by the Tribunal to 38, disposing of appeals concerning 46 persons. The remaining caseload of the ICTR Appeals Chamber consists of six cases which concern 15 persons.