MONDAY
January 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 11
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

MIXED SIGNALS FROM RWANDA WAR-CRIMES TRIALS
    VATICAN (FIDES/CWNews.com) -- The Vatican's FIDES news agency has observed "contradictory signals" from the government of Rwanda regarding the legal prosecution of individuals charged with war crimes in connection with the 1994 massacres there.

    In Rwanda today, FIDES observes, 9 out of 10 people in prison are facing charges connected with the 1994 massacres. The number of minor children facing trial has increased dramatically, suggesting a new vigor among the prosecutors. But at the same time, the judges involved in the cases seem to be showing greater leniency toward those who are accused.

    Citing a report by the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, FIDES reports that in the first six months of 1999, the number of children facing genocide accusations soared from 2,674 to 4,454. But during the same period, the number of death sentences handed down to convicted criminals dropped by 10 percent, while the number of life sentences fell by 30 percent. Acquittals rose by a bit more than 20 percent.

    According to the Rwandan League, the country's courts have now convicted 1,908 defendants, of whom 296 were given the death penalty, another 600 were sentenced to life imprisonment, and the remainder received prison terms of varying duration.

    But the trials continue to proceed very slowly, leaving many defendants in prison for months before they can face the court. A total 130,000 people are awaiting trial for crimes connected with the genocide.

          

January 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 11
NEWS & VIEWS

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