During the 1994 genocide, the accused managed the commune of Bicumbi (about thirty kilometres to the east of Kigali), position to which he was named on 4 August 1993. Last July, he had pleaded guilty to crimes of extermination and had admitted to not have taken necessary measures in order to punish his subordinates implicated in the massacres of Tutsis.
On 17 September, the prosecutor had requested a sentence of at least 12 years imprisonment. Rugambarara was arrested in Uganda on 11 August 2003 and was transferred to the ICTR detention center two days later. On 15 August 2003, he appeared for the first time before the tribunal, pleading not guilty to 9 counts charged against him. On 12 June 2007, the prosecutor requested an amendment to the indictment, withdrawing 8 of the 9 counts against the defendant.
The former mayor, who is defended by Maroufa Diabira (Mauritania), was born in 1959 and spent most of his life in Bicumbi, where he worked as a medical assistant. The trial chamber is presided by Sri Lankian Judge Joseph Asoka de Silva.
The last judgment to be rendered at the ICTR was that of a defendant who had recognized his guilt. Joseph Nzabirinda on 23 February was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
The last trial to have begun without the defendant pleading guilty is that of Hormisdas Nsengimana, on 22 June. The proceedings were interrupted after a week and should restart in January. Several judgments in first instance are on standby and should not be rendered before next year.
The appeals chamber, on the other hand, should at the end this month render its judgments in the Simba and Media cases.
Since its creation, the tribunal, to date, has rendered 33 judgments, including 5 acquittals. It indicted 90 persons, of which 14 are still at large.
© Hirondelle News Agency