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UN court overturns Rwandan's genocide conviction

Publisher Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Publication Date 17 November 2009
Cite as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, UN court overturns Rwandan's genocide conviction, 17 November 2009, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

November 17, 2009

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – A UN court's appeals chamber has acquitted a Rwandan leader who was sentenced to 20 years in prison over the 1994 genocide because of shortcomings in the evidence.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said late on November 16 that its appeals chamber had ordered the immediate release of Protais Zigiranyirazo, known by the nickname "Mr. Z."

Zigiranyirazo, a brother-in-law of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, was alleged to have been a member of Akazu, a small but powerful Hutu group believed to have plotted to exterminate the minority Tutsis.

"The trial judgment misstated the principles of law governing the distribution of burden of proof with regards to alibi and seriously erred in its handling of the evidence," said Judge Theodor Meron, who presides over the appeals chamber in Arusha, northern Tanzania.

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