Friday, September 18, 2009

Former Rwandan Official Pleads Guilty to Complicity in Genocide

According to the Georgetown Security Law Brief, a former Rwandan government official pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of complicity in genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Machael Bagaragaza admitted to funding, training, and providing weapons to the Interahamwe, an extremist Hutu militia that killed thousands of ethnic Tutsi during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The Jurist has the following report on the guilty plea.

Prosecutors submitted an amended complaint with the plea agreement that withdrew genocide and conspiracy to commit genocide charges against the former director general of OCIR-Tea, the agency which oversees Rwanda's tea industry. A sentencing hearing is planned for November 2.

Bagaragaza was transferred in May 2008 to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, after a Dutch court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to try his case. In August 2007, the ICTR revoked a previous order transferring Bagaragaza's case to a local court in the Netherlands after the country expressed doubt that its court system could handle the trial. In 2006, the ICTR denied prosecutors' request to transfer Bagaragaza's trial to Norway because Norway did not have a specific law against genocide. Bagaragaza surrendered to the ICTR in August 2005.

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