Genocide convict Munyakazi appeals against life sentence

The specialised chamber for international crimes at the High Court on Monday heard the appeal of genocide suspect, Leopold Munyakazi who was in August last year sentenced to life by Muhanga Intermediate Court.

The specialised chamber for international crimes at the High Court on Monday heard the appeal of genocide suspect, Leopold Munyakazi who was in August last year sentenced to life by Muhanga Intermediate Court.

The former university professor, who had evaded justice for more than 10 years while in the United States, was extradited to Rwanda in September 2016.
He was convicted for crimes committed during and after the Genocide, including genocide, complicity to commit genocide, extermination and genocide negation.

The Muhanga court however cleared him of the offence of conspiracy to commit genocide.

The hearing at high court was characterized by drama orchestrated by Munyakazi, who on different occasions said he was suing the lower court for handing him a life sentence before they gave him ample time to present his defence.

However, prosecution contested this saying that Munyakazi had refused the defence lawyer that was assigned to him and was provided with all the materials he required as contained in his indictment.

On Monday, he appeared in court with his lawyer Désire Micombero.

Munyakazi was jailed right after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and released after 5 years because of insufficient evidence at the time.

Prosecution however says they letter found sufficient evidence, mainly through the information gathering that preceded the Gacaca semi-traditional jurisdiction. This was in 2006 and immediately after this, he fled the country.

Prosecution represented by Theogène Rwabahizi, said that Munyakazi should present his grounds for the appeal rather than wasting the court’s time going back to matters that were already adjudicated.

He added that all documents requested by the defendant were availed in court during the initial hearing, adding that he couldn’t understand why Munyakazi was asking for the same documents during the appeal process.

The documents in question include a CD on which Munyakazi is heard speaking on a radio station a speech on which he is pinned for the crime of genocide negation.

The judge adjourned the hearing to January 25 where the court will take a decision to the different impediments presented by the defendant before the appeal process can begin.

Have Your SayLeave a comment