Two ex-Rwandan army officers acquitted in genocide case

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 12, 2014 01:30 hrs

Kigali, Feb 12 (IANS) The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday confirmed the acquittal of two former Rwandan army officers.

Ndindiliyimana and Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye had previously been charged with the 1994 genocide. The lower court had sentenced them to 11 years and 20 years in jail respectively, Xinhua reported.

Gen. Ndindiliyimana was the head of the gendarmerie during the 1994 genocide, while Maj. Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, ex- Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion in the defeated Former Armed Forces of Rwanda. They were sentenced after being found guilty of crime against humanity and war crimes.

The acquittal pronunciation comes three years after the UN court condemned Gen. Ndindiliyimana to the time spent in detention since 2000.

In a statement released Tuesday, the office of Registrar at UN court said the appeal chamber has overturned the conviction of two suspects and ordered their immediate release.

Rwandan genocide survivors' group "Ibuka" (Remember) has expressed indignation at the acquittal of two military officers of the defeated Rwandan army.

"Genocide survivors association is not pleased with the court's decision and supports the Prosecution's decision to file an appeal, " the statement said.

In 1994, ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were targeted by Hutu extremists over a three-month period of blood-letting.

The massacres followed the death of the then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana and the Burundian head of state, whose plane was shot down over the Rwandan capital Kigali April 6 that year.

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