, ARUSHA, Tanzania, Sep 29 – The UN-backed tribunal for Rwanda on Monday upheld the life sentences for two former heads of the ex-ruling party for genocide crimes committed in 1994.
Matthieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, the former head and deputy of Rwanda’s National Revolutionary Movement for Development, had been handed life terms in 2011 for genocide, crimes against humanity and for not having prevented or denounced crimes committed by the party’s militia, the Interahamwe, but had appealed the verdicts.
An estimated 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis, were killed in the genocide.
But appeals judge Theodor Meron said the verdict and sentence had been upheld and that the two would remain in detention pending their transfer to a jail where they will serve their sentence.
Ngirumpatse was arrested in Mali in June 1998 and transferred to Arusha the following month. Karemera was arrested the same year in Togo.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was set up to try those alleged to bear the greatest responsibility for the 1994 genocide.
Lesser suspects have been judged by the Rwandan courts and by several thousand grassroots courts, known as gacaca, that were set up by the Rwandan government to deal with the sheer number of cases.