Arusha, 21 April 2009 (FH) - The Prosecutor of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday exhorted for maximum sentence of  imprisonment against six accused  of 1994 genocide in  a joint trial dubbed "Butare", the largest and longest in the 15-year history of the UN Court.

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The accused are all hailing from Butare prefecture, southern Rwanda, one of the last areas to succumb to the bloody deaths between April and July, 1994.

"The defendants committed calculated, cold blooded and executed in a methodical manner the killings," claimed the prosecuting counsel, Holo Makwaia.

In her closing arguments on the second and final day, the Tanzanian attorney stated that the prosecution has proved beyond any reasonable doubts that the six accused were responsible for the mass murders and incitement to commit the heinous killings.

The accused in the trial include Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Rwandan Minister for Family and Women Affairs-- and the only woman to be indicted for genocide by the UN Tribunal-- and her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, former alleged head of the notorious interahamwe militia.

 Others are: two ex-Governors, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo; and two former Mayors--Joseph Kanyabashi and Eli Ndayambaje.

 ‘'The most appropriate sentence in respect of each of the accused is imprisonment for the remainder of their lives,'' Makwaia suggested before the three-bench judges, presided by Tanzanian Judge, William Sekule.

Earlier, the prosecuting attorney elaborated how accused -Kanyabashi--was heard by several witnesses in various meetings in Ngoma commune and Butare town, urging openly extermination of Tutsi population following an address of the then Interim President , Theodore Sindikubwabo, on 19 April, 1994.   

Arthia Alexis, another ICTR attorney, who presented closing arguments against Nteziryayo, told the Chamber, with support witnesses' testimonies, that accused [Nteziryayo] was responsible for civil defence program targeting to kill Tutsis; trained interahamwe militia; participated actively in the killings of Tutsis; ordered road blocks; and made inciting speeches in May 1994.

The defence teams have now began their submissions, expected to last until end of the month.

Nicole Bergevin, Canadian lead defence counsel for Nyiramasuhuko, was the first to begin her final submissions Tuesday evening.

 The trial opened in June 2001.


© Hirondelle News Agency