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Higaniro, Mukangango, Mukabutera case, Court of Cassation, 9 January 2002
Affaire Higaniro, Mukangango, Mukabutera, Cour de cassation, 9 Janvier 2002

Cour de cassation
Cour de Cassation, 9 January 2002, No. P. 01.1035.F

On 9 January 2002, the Belgian Court of Cassation issued a decision on the case of three Rwandans — a manufacturer and two nuns — accused of violations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, their Additional Protocols of 1977, the Belgian law of 16 June 1993 on the punishment of grave breaches of international humanitarian law and the Rwandan Penal Code — all with regard to acts committed during the events that took place in Rwanda in 1994. The accused had argued that the decision of the Brussels Appeals Court (Accusation Chamber) of 27 June 2000 was ill-founded, as were the decisions of the Brussels Court of Assizes of 18 April, 7 June and 8 June 2001.18 The Appeals Court had ruled that the case should proceed further and referred it to the Court of Assizes despite the fact that in the case of the manufacturer the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda had decided to reject the prosecutor’s indictment. The accused’s case was based on a number of international legal instruments, including the United Nations Charter, the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, several provisions of national law, including the Constitution, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the law of 22 March 1996 on recognition of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and of the International Tribunal for Rwanda and cooperation with these Tribunals, and on general principles of law, including the right to a fair trial, the non bis in idem principle, the principle that international rules directly applicable to national rules take precedence, and the principle that national law should be interpreted in accordance with international rules. The Court dismissed the case partly on the merits and partly as inadmissible.

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