The Court of Appeal has postponed the hearing of the appeal case of former Bourgmestre (Mayor) of Nyakizu Commune (now part of Nyaruguru District) Ladislas Ntaganzwa who was convicted of committing crimes of genocide against the Tutsi. The 60-year-old is challenging a 2020 decision taken by the High Court Chamber for International Crimes (HCCIC) to sentence to life imprisonment, having found him guilty of committing genocide, as well as rape, murder and extermination as crimes against humanity. Though the details of his entire appeal dossier are not yet available to the public, his lawyer Alex Musonera told the court in brief that his client’s decision to appeal is motivated by the HCCIC’s failure to properly interpret certain laws that it used when it was convicting him. Musonera added that a number of witness accounts that were used against Ntaganzwa in the first instance trial were contradictory. The lawyer, however, told the judges that he and his client were not ready to start the trial on Monday because they had not had enough time to read the prosecutors’ submissions in response to their appeal. “My client only looked at the prosecutors’ submissions on Friday. We need more time to read them and prepare a response as well,” he noted. Due to that, the judges adjourned the trial to Thursday, 10am. Ntaganzwa is accused of playing a big role in killing Tutsis in Nyakizu, the commune he led. Among other things, he is pinned on having being at the helm of the murder of the 25,000 who were killed at Cyahinda Catholic Parish where they had gone to seek refuge. Ntagazwa was arrested in 2015 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and extradited to Rwanda in 2016. He was one of the nine people indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) but had not yet been arrested by the time the UN court closed shop in 2015. In 2012, the ICTR, as part of its completion strategy, decided to refer to Rwandan prosecution the case files of six of the nine major suspects who had remained at large. These included Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikubwayo, Aloys Ndimbati, Ryandikayo, and Pheneas Munyarugarama. The other three: Felicien Kabuga, Augustin Bizimana and Maj Protais Mpiranya would be tried by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT). Kabuga was arrested in France in 2020 and is currently being tried by IRMCT on counts including: genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and persecution and extermination – both as crimes against humanity. For Bizimana, it came to be confirmed that he died in 2000, and similar news was confirmed for Protais Mpiranya, whom the ICTR confirmed to have died on October 5, 2006 in Harare, Zimbabwe.