Bagaragaza to be sentenced next week

ARUSHA - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), will next week sentence Michel Bagaragaza, the former head of the Rwandan Tea Authority (OCIR-Thé) and close ally of former President Juvenal Habyarimana.
TO BE SENTENCED:Michel Bagaragaza
TO BE SENTENCED:Michel Bagaragaza

ARUSHA - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), will next week sentence Michel Bagaragaza, the former head of the Rwandan Tea Authority (OCIR-Thé) and close ally of former President Juvenal Habyarimana.

According to an ICTR statement, the sentencing will begin on Monday and run up to Wednesday next week before a final decision is made Friday.

Bagaragaza, 55, last month admitted his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi when he pleaded guilty to complicity to commit Genocide. 

The Genocide suspect, who surrendered to the tribunal in 2005, was initially charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit Genocide, Genocide, complicity in Genocide and violations of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and of Additional Protocol II of 1977.

The hearing to be broadcast live via the ICTR satellite, will take place in the tribunal’s trial chamber III, composed of Judges Vagn Joensen, Presiding, Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov and Gustave Kam.

A member of Habyarimana’s inner circle (Akazu) that planned and executed the Genocide, the accused was transferred from Arusha to the detention facility of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) following a request by the ICTR Prosecutor to grant the transfer for security reasons.

This was followed by two botched attempts by the Prosecutor to transfer Bagaragaza’s case to Norway and to the Netherlands.

In the case of Norway, the trial chamber, relying on the submissions by the Norwegian Prosecutor, found that Norwegian criminal law did not provide for the crime of Genocide, which was alleged in the indictment, and therefore denied the application.

When the Prosecution turned towards the Netherlands, it was supported by a statement of the Dutch prosecutor that the Netherlands had jurisdiction to try the case.

However, it was also later denied on grounds that the European country did not also have jurisdiction to try such a case.

In 2007, the referral order was revoked and the accused was transferred on May 20, 2008 back to Arusha.

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