Finally Early release for two Rwanda genocide convicts

The UN has granted early release to two men convicted of genocide by the special tribunal set up to try those responsible for Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

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The 1994 genocide in Rwanda killed thousands, whose preserved skulls reside at the Genocide memorial in Nyamata, as 10 out of 61 convicts have been granted early release including historian Ferdinand Nahimana and priest Emmanuel Rukundo play

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda killed thousands, whose preserved skulls reside at the Genocide memorial in Nyamata, as 10 out of 61 convicts have been granted early release including historian Ferdinand Nahimana and priest Emmanuel Rukundo

(AFP/File)
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The UN has granted early release to two men convicted of genocide by the special tribunal set up to try those responsible for Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sentenced historian Ferdinand Nahimana and priest Emmanuel Rukundo to 30 years and 23 years respectively, but a document posted on the website of the UN's Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MTPI) on Wednesday said they would be released early from the Mali jail where they have been detained.

"While the crimes of which Nahimana was convicted are very grave, the fact that Nahimana already completed two-thirds of his sentence as of 27 March 2016, and the fact that he has demonstrated some signs of rehabilitation weigh in favour of his early release," Judge Theodor Meron said, in a September decision that was only published on the MTPI website on Wednesday.

The judge came to a similar conclusion with regards to Rukundo, a former military chaplain, in a July decision also published on Wednesday.

Out of 61 people convicted at the Rwanda genocide tribunal, 10 have now been granted early release in decisions that are commonly criticised by the government in Kigali which took power in the wake of the genocide.

Nahimana is a former history professor and founder of the notorious hate-speech broadcaster Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines, which exhorted Rwandan Hutus to kill Tutsis during the genocide from April to July 1994.

First arrested in 1996, he was found guilty of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement, persecution and extermination in December 2003.

Rukundo, who was arrested in 2001, was convicted of genocide, extermination and murder in February 2009.

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