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IRMCT Appeals chamber dismisses Marie Fatuma’s appeal

IRMCT Appeals chamber dismisses Marie Fatuma’s appeal

THE Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) has dismissed Ms Marie Rose Fatuma’s appeal, who was guilty of contempt for having interfered with the administration of justice.

Fatuma was convicted on June 25, 2021 along with four other Rwandans by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) for witness intimidation, interference and bribery.

Others convicted were Augustin Ngirabatware, Anselme Nzabonimpa and Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana. They were intimidating witnesses to help overturn the trial of Ngirabatware, who was previously convicted by the UN Court for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

A former Minister of Planning in the in the Genocidal government, Ngirabatware, is a son in law to Genocide mastermind Felicien Kabuga, who himself is in the custody of the same UN Court.

Fatuma is the widow of Ngirabatware’s half-brother, Édouard Byukusenge, also known as ‘Cenge’. The Appeals Chamber composed of the President, Judge Carmel Agius, Judge Alphons Orie and Judge Seymour Panton unanimously dismissed Fatuma’s appeal.

The Appeals Chamber, proprio motu (without a formal request from another party) set aside the sentence of time served imposed on Fatuma by single judge of the Mechanism, sentenced her to 11 months of imprisonment, and declared that the sentence has been served in view of the credit for  Fatuma’s detention in the custody of the Mechanism pending trial.

With respect to Dick Prudence Munyeshuli, who the single judge acquitted him of contempt and issued a warning against him, The Appeals Chamber unanimously granted the Prosecution’s appeal in its entirety.

The Appeals Chamber found  Munyeshuli guilty, pursuant to Article 1(4)(a) of the Mechanism’s Statute and Rule 90(A)(ii) and (iii) of the Mechanism’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and entered a conviction against him for contempt through knowingly and willfully interfering with the administration of justice.

It sentenced Munyeshuli to five months of imprisonment, declaring that the sentence has been served in view of the credit for his detention in the custody of the Mechanism pending trial. The Appeals Chamber also set aside Ngirabatware’s concurrent sentence of two years of imprisonment.

However Judge Orie dissenting imposed on him a sentence of two years of imprisonment to be served consecutively to his sentence of 30 years imprisonment that he is already serving.

The witnesses had been relied upon by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) trial chamber in 2012 to convict Ngirabatware of incitement to commit genocide and genocide.

Besides Ngirabatware who was already in custody, the other co-accused were arrested in 2018 in Rwanda on an apparent mission to track and intimidate or bribe witnesses who had testified against him during his trial.

The (Mechanism) was established by UN Security Council Resolution 1966 (2010) to complete the remaining work of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which closed in 2015 and 2017, respectively. The Mechanism has two branches, one in Arusha, Tanzania, and one in The Hague, Netherlands.

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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