Civil society sign petition against ICTR judge Meron

Fifteen civil society organisations have signed a petition against Judge Theodore Meron, the presiding Judge of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Edouard Munyamaliza delivering his Petition letter at the UN offices in Kigali. John Mbanda
Edouard Munyamaliza delivering his Petition letter at the UN offices in Kigali. John Mbanda

Fifteen civil society organisations have signed a petition against Judge Theodore Meron, the presiding Judge of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The petition, which was addressed to the president of the UN Security Council, calls in question decisions by the Appeals Chamber to acquit or reduce sentences of masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

 

"We have taken note of some decisions taken by the Appeals Chamber under Judge Meron and we systematically refute them through well-reasoned facts and laws," Edouard Munyamaliza, spokesman of Rwanda Civil Society Platform, said yesterday.

 

"For example, the acquittal of Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza, who were serving a 30 year sentence each, was not justified by law; no wonder there were dissent expressed by some judges during the ruling".

 

Mugenzi and Mugiraneza were ministers in the interim government headed by Jean Kabanda (currently serving life sentence imposed by the ICTR) after the death of former President Juvenal Habyarimana.

Other controversial acquittals by Judge Meron's court include those of Protais Zigiranyirazo, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for genocide.

"General Augusitn Ndindiliyimana and Major Francois Xavier Nzuwonemeye were also shockingly acquitted on appeal, whereas they had been convicted by the trial chamber and given11 and 20 years sentences respectively," Munyamaliza said.

Nzuwonemeye headed a battalion whose members participated in the murder of former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana at her residence on April 7, 1994.

The civil society added that they were displeased by the serious reduction of sentences of Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva and Major AloysNtabakuze, who had previously been given life sentences due to the gravity of their crimes during the Genocide.

"It is disquieting to note that in all cases handled under Judge Meron, all those known and accused of planning the Genocide against the Tutsi, none has been convicted of the act of planning. Can Genocide happen without planning?" Munyamaliza wondered.

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