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New charges against Akayesu: sexual violence

The trial of Jean Paul Akayesu will resume on Thursday 23 October 1997 when he will appear in court to answer new charges of sexual violence against female civilians the accused is alleged to have committed between April and June 1994.

The new charges are contained in the indictment which was amended by the Prosecutor Judge Louise Arbour on 17 June 1997. The amended indictment charges that Akayesu, who was Bourgmaster of Taba Commune knew of and facilitated the commission of sexual violence, beatings and murders of mostly Tutsi women who sought refuge at the Taba bureau commune.

"These acts of sexual violence were generally accompanied by explicit threats of death or bodily harm. The female displaced civilians lived in constant fear and their physical and psychological health deteriorated as a result of sexual violence, beatings and killings," the indictment states.

The three additional counts charge him with Crimes Against Humanity (Rape), Crimes Against Humanity (Other inhuman acts), Violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and of Article3 4(2)(e) of Additional Protocol II (Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular rape, degrading and humiliating treatment and indecent assault).

Akayesu, who is defended by Counsels Nicolas Tiangaye (Central African Republic) and Patrice Monthe (Cameroon), was indicted on 12 February 1996. The earlier counts charge him with Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Violations of Article III Common to the Geneva Conventions. Jean-Paul Akayesu trial began on 9 January 1997 and was postponed on 24 May 1997. 22 witnesses for the prosecution have already testified in this first part of the case.

Akayesu was arrested in Zambia on 10 October 1995, and transferred to the Tribunal' s Detention Facility in Arusha on 26 May 1996. He, and another accused, Georges Anderson Rutaganda were the first suspects to appear before the Tribunal. Their initial appearance was 30 May 1996.

Meanwhile a three-day seminar on International Humanitarian Law jointly organised by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Committee for Red Cross began here today.

The seminar, attended by Judges of the Tribunal, lawyers from the Prosecutor's office, and Defence Counsels, will deliberate on various aspects of the International Humanitarian Law and its application.

During the opening session of the seminar the President of the Tribunal, Judge Laïty Kama thanked the ICRC for its support to the Tribunal.

For information only - Not an official document

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