World

Rwanda genocide case to resume at UN court

A United Nations court resumed proceedings Monday in the case of a former Rwandan planning minister convicted of involvement in his country's 1994 genocide, following the release from custody in Turkey of one of the judges involved in the case.

The U.N.'s Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals announced that it will review the conviction of Augustin Ngirabatware, who was sentenced on appeal to 30 years in 2014 for inciting, instigating, aiding and abetting genocide as over 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu extremists.

Ngirabatware last year filed a request for review of his convictions, saying new evidence that came to light after his conviction could exonerate him.

The case was put on ice after U.N. judge Aydin Sefa Akay was detained last year in his native Turkey in the aftermath of that country's failed coup and accused of links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkey claims Gulen was behind the bloody uprising. He denies the allegations.

Akay was convicted last week of membership of a terrorist organization and sentenced to seven and a half years' imprisonment but released pending appeal.

The U.N. court said in a statement that Akay has been in contact with the court's president, Theodor Meron and had "confirmed his ability and willingness to exercise his judicial functions" in the Ngirabatware case.

In a written ruling, Meron said that a hearing in the case will be scheduled at a later date. It remains unclear if Akay would be able to attend a hearing in The Hague as the Turkish court that granted his release pending his appeal also said that he was not allowed to leave the country.

Meron reported Turkey to the United Nations Security Council in March for failing to comply with an order to release Akay. In January, the U.N court had given Ankara until Feb. 14 to free Akay and halt legal proceedings against him, saying he is protected by diplomatic immunity.