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Arusha, 23 May 2007 (FH) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (TPIR) requested on Tuesday a life sentenced against Colonel Aloys Simba, convicted in his trial to 25 years of imprisonment, noted the Hirondelle agency.

On December 13 2005, Simba had been found guilty of genocide and extermination and had been acquitted for complicity in genocide and assassinations.

Simba and the prosecution appealed the sentence. The date of the appeal judgment will be announced at a later time.

On Monday, during the appeals trial, the representative for the Office of The Prosecutor, Evelyn Kamau, stated that "the trial chamber had exceeded its discretionary capacity by imposing 25 years, an insufficient sentence of imprisonment". Mrs. Kamau emphasized "the gravity of the crimes" and "the central role of the accused" in their perpetration.

"The sentence should be revised so that he is sentenced to life in prison", the maximum sentence at the ICTR, she pleaded in front of the Appeals Chamber presided by the Italian Judge Fausto Pocar.

Earlier in the course of the day, the principal defense council, Sadikou Alao, for his part, had asked for the pure and simple acquittal of his client. "Aloys Simba is innocent of all the crimes which are reproached to him. His judgment is only the fruit of a mixture of errors of law and fact ", pled the Beninese lawyer, stressing that the trial judgment "contains many assumptions and hypotheses".

He then asserted that Simba had not been able to prepare his defense adequately since, according to him, the indictment was vague and imprecise. He finally underlined to have had enormous difficulties in carrying out his investigations in Rwanda, accusing the Rwandan government of having deliberately complicated the task for him.

During the 1994 genocide, Colonel Simba was in charge of civil defense in two regions of southern Rwanda: Gikongoro, his native region, and Butare. The trial judges condemned him for his role in the massacres of Tutsis at the Technical School of Murambi and at the Kaduha church during the 1994 genocide. They, in particular, concluded that he had distributed the grenades and rifles used during these crimes.

A retired officer in 1994, the accused had belonged to the group of officers who had brought to power the ex- president Juvénal Habyarimana in 1973, he had been recalled to serve in the armed forces within the framework of the civil defense.

© Hirondelle News Agency