The Appeals Chamber for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, today, reduced the life sentence of Juvénal Kajelijeli, former bourgmestre of Mukingo, to 45 years imprisonment because his rights were violated during his arrest and detention.
The Appeals Chamber recalls that it vacated the Kajelijeli’s cumulative convictions for genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity under Counts 2 and 6 insofar as they were based upon a finding of command responsibility. However, the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber was required to take its finding on the Kajelijeli’s superior position (Article 6(3)) into account at sentencing as an aggravating factor. The Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber did so. The appeal was otherwise dismissed in all other respects.
Kajelijeli was sentenced on 1 December 2003 by Trial Chamber II to two concurrent life terms for genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity and to an additional 15 years imprisonment for direct and public incitement to commit genocide. All three sentences were to run concurrently.
However, the Appeals Chamber ruled that in view of the serious violations of his fundamental rights during his arrest and detention in Benin and at the UN Detention Facility from 5 June 1998 to 6 April 1999, the two life sentences and the 15 year sentence which were to run concurrently imposed by the Trial Chamber must be converted into a single sentence of imprisonment for 45 years. The Appeals Chamber ordered that Kajelijeli be given credit for time already served in detention. Kajelijeli was ordered to remain in the custody of the Tribunal pending his transfer to the State in which his sentence will be served.
Kajelijeli was born on 26 December 1951 in Mukingo Commune, Rwinzovu Sector, Ruhengeri Prefecture of Rwanda. He was bourgmestre of Mukingo Commune from 1988 to 1993 and was re-appointed to that post on 26 June 1994, remaining until mid-July 1994. He was also a leader of the Interahamwe militia.
The Appeals Chamber is composed of Fausto Pocar ( Italy) Presiding, Mohamed Shahabuddeen, ( Guyana), Florence Ndepele Mwachande Mumba ( Zambia), Wolfgang Schomburg ( Germany), and Inés Mónica Weinberg de Roca, ( Argentina).