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Appeal opens for key figure in Rwanda genocide

ARUSHA, Mar 31 – An appeal hearing opened Wednesday at the UN war crimes court for Rwanda of Theoneste Bagosora, found to be the de facto head of the Rwandan army at the time of the 1994 genocide.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda sentenced Bagosora to life imprisonment in December 2008 on charges of "genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes," but he was acquitted of conspiring to commit genocide before April 7, 1994.

The acquittal on the conspiracy charge was seen at the time as marking the court\’s failure to prove the genocide was planned.

Much of Wednesday\’s hearing was spent on the question of who was actually in charge in Rwanda in the first three days of the genocide April 7-9.

The hearing continues Thursday.

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