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Former Rwanda president loses appeal against incitement conviction

[JURIST] The Rwandan Supreme Court on Friday rejected the appeal [JURIST report] of former Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu [BBC profile], who had asked the court to overturn his 15-year criminal sentence [JURIST report] for inciting violence, embezzlement, and associating with criminals. Bizimungu, the country's first president after the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder], had argued that his arrest and conviction had been politically motivated and that he should not have been convicted on charges different from those on which he was arrested.

The supreme court also upheld the sentence of one of Bizimungu's co-defendants, former Transport Minister Charles Ntakirutinka, but overturned the convictions of six other co-defendants. Human rights groups, including US-based Human Rights Watch, had called for the court to overturn Bizimungu's conviction [HRW backgrounder; press release], saying that the trial court had committed "egregious errors" and that evidence presented at trial had been weak and contradictory. BBC News has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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