Former Rwandan Ministers Cleared of Genocide

Posted September 30th, 2011 at 4:40 pm (UTC-5)
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A United Nations war crimes court has acquitted two former Rwandan ministers of charges they played key roles in Rwanda's 1994 genocide .

Following Friday's verdict, former Health Minister Casimir Bizimungu and former Foreign Minister Jerome-Clement Bicamumpaka were granted their freedom after being jailed for 12 years. Their trial began in 2003.

Bizimungu told reporters he was very happy after the decision and thanked his lawyers, family and friends, and God.

Prosecutors say they checking to see if there are grounds to appeal the verdict.

Two other ex-ministers, former Public Service Minister Prosper Mugiraneza and former Trade Minister Justin Mugenzi, were convicted by the tribunal Friday, a result prosecutors said they were much more satisfied with. Mugiraneza and Mugenzi were sentenced to 30 years in prison.

All four ex-ministers had been accused of using inflammatory language to provoke massacres.

The tribunal, based in Tanzania, was established to try those considered most responsible for Rwanda's 1994 genocide during which extremist Hutus killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.