Today, the Appeals Chamber composed of Judge Theodor Meron (United States), presiding, Judge Joseph E. Chiondo Masanche (Tanzania), Judge Lee G. Muthoga (Kenya), Judge Aminatta Lois Runeni N’gum (Gambia), and Judge Gberdao Gustave Kam (Burkina Faso) delivered its judgement on review in the case of Prosecutor v. Augustin Ngirabatware, Case No. MICT-12-29-R.
The Appeals Chamber rejected Ngirabatware’s attempt to show in review proceedings that the four key witnesses underpinning his convictions for direct and public incitement to commit genocide and instigating and aiding and abetting genocide had truthfully recanted their trial testimonies. The Appeals Chamber decided that the appeal judgement, sentencing Ngirabatware to 30 years of imprisonment for these crimes, remains in force.
The Appeals Chamber found that Ngirabatware had not presented sufficient evidence capable of belief that the witnesses had truthfully recanted. The Appeals Chamber observed that the circumstances surrounding the recantations of the four witnesses, including evidence that the witnesses received or sought financial incentives in connection with their recantations, as well as the fact that the recantations may have been orchestrated by others, raised considerable suspicion. Notably, two of the four witnesses renounced their recantations at the review hearing and affirmed the truth of their trial testimony against Ngirabatware.
The review hearing was held from 16 to 24 September 2019 at the Arusha branch of the Mechanism. The Appeals Chamber heard six witnesses, including the four recanting witnesses, and oral arguments from the parties. This was the first time the Arusha branch’s new courtroom, which is one of the most technologically advanced in the world, has been used for evidentiary hearings.
Augustin Ngirabatware served as Minister of Planning as part of the Interim Government in April 1994. His trial judgement was pronounced by Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on 20 December 2012, and his appeal judgement of 18 December 2014 was the Mechanism’s first judgement.