KIGALI - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) yesterday sentenced former Rwandan military officer, Col. Tharcisse Muvunyi to 15 years imprisonment for Genocide crimes.
According to an ICTR press release, trial Chamber III composed of Judges Dennis C.M. Byron, (presiding) Gberdao Gustave Kam, and Vagn Joensen, found Muvunyi guilty of direct and public incitement to commit genocide following his retrial.
However, Muvunyi will receive credit for his time served since he was arrested in the United Kingdom in February 2000.
In August 2008, the Appeals Chamber set aside all convictions and the sentence, but ordered a retrial of one allegation of direct and public incitement to commit genocide concerning Muvunyi’s speech in May 1994at the Gikore trading centre in Nyaruhengeri commune, Southern Province. On the count of direct and public incitement, Muvunyi was accused by witnesses of having used inflammatory language insinuating that when a snake coils itself onto a calabash, there remains no other alternative but to break the calabash.
“This message was very clear to us. We understood it to mean that all Hutus who had Tutsi spouses should surrender them to be killed if not they all lose their lives,” a witness said during a trial in June last year.
The Chamber ordered that the former military officer to remain in the custody of the tribunal pending transfer to the State where he will serve the remainder of his sentence.
Muvunyi’s retrial commenced in June 2009 and prosecution closed its case in June 2009, after calling six witnesses and tendering in twenty one exhibits.
The Defence commenced its case in August and closed in September 2009, after calling seven witnesses with eleven exhibits.
A soldier by profession, Muvunyi was born in 1953, in Mukarange commune now in the Northern Province. In 1994, Muvunyi was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Rwandan army and was stationed at the Junior Officers’ Academy in Butare prefecture now Southern Province.
He was arrested in the United Kingdom in February 2000 and transferred to the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha in October 2000.