Genocide suspect Leopold Munyakazi sentenced to nine years

Léopold Munyakazi.

Genocide suspect Dr. Leopold Munyakazi has been cleared of all but one charge related to Genocide by the specialised chamber for international crimes based in Nyanza.

The decision was rendered Friday by the chamber that is affiliated to High Court.

The 67 year-old who was extradited to Rwanda by the US government in 2016, will now serve nine years in prison after he was found guilty of Genocide revisionism.

Munyakazi, a former head of the national trade union, CESTRAR, and varsity lecturer, had previously been accused of participating in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, complicity in the Genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, as well as extermination and murder as crimes against humanity.

During the Genocide, Munyakazi had been accused of having colluded with then mayor Jean Mbarubukeye to mobilise mass killings in Kayenzi town, now in Muhanga District.

In 2008, the National Public Prosecution Authority issued an international arrest warrant and extradition request against Munyakazi after he had escaped the country pending investigation about the genocide charges.

He fled to the United States where he continued his work in the academia but most notably, he used academic space to trivialise the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Speaking to The New Times, Harrison Mutabazi, confirmed that Munyakazi was cleared of the charges of genocide, complicity to commit Genocide, incitement to commit Genocide and murder and was convicted for trivialising the Genocide.

According to him, the decision was premised on the fact that there were certain contradictions in witness accounts pinning him of playing a direct role in the Genocide against the Tutsi.

“Such contradictions create doubt and this favours the accused,” said Mutabazi asked why the accused was cleared.

If no appeal is lodged or should the appellate court uphold the ruling by the specialised chamber, Munyakazi is expected to have the time served during  deducted from his sentence and will serve the remaining years. 

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