Rwandan genocide charges overturned

Feb. 4, 2013 at 12:16 PM

ARUSHA, Tanzania, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A trail chamber for the Rwandan genocide tribunal found two former ministers not guilty after a lower court sentenced them to 30 years in prison.

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ordered the immediate release of former Trade Minister Justin Mugenzi and former Public Services Minister Prosper Mugiraneza, the Kenya Broadcasting Corp. reports.

Both were found guilty in 2011 of conspiracy to commit genocide and incitement to commit genocide. The appeals court overturned that ruling, which was issued on grounds both ministers attended meetings where attacks on Tutsis were advocated.

The ICTR, working from Tanzania, has acquitted eight and convicted 38 people who faced charges related to genocide. Some cases were referred to Rwandan courts.

Former Rwanda Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware was sentenced in December to 35 years in prison on genocide charges.

Conflicts between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic communities left about 800,000 people dead in a 100-day massacre in 1994. The ministers acquitted by the ICTR were in office at the time of the genocide.

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