Arusha, 29 April, 2009 (FH) - Parties in the contempt of court case against Rwandan lawyer, Leonidas Nshogoza, Wednesday concluded their closing arguments before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with the defence seeking an acquittal whereas prosecution pleaded for harsh sentence to deter others from committing such offences.

1 min 7Approximate reading time

Canadian lawyer, Allison Turner, told a three-man bench Chamber led by Judge Khalida Khan of Pakistan to dismiss the case and acquit her client because she claimed the prosecution had failed to prove its case.

‘'This is a show-case for the prosecution no-more, no less,'' Counsel Turner remarked, adding that her client had faithfully worked for the Tribunal for six years only to find himself in prison.

She concluded her case by saying: ‘' Mr. Nshogoza is innocent for all counts and should be acquitted.''

Contrary to Counsel Turners pleading, prosecution led by Richard Karegyesa of Uganda said much as the case was simple but the charges were very serious because they involved an attempt to pervert justice in a genocide case and interfering with the administration of justice.

The prosecution boasted it had proved that the accused knowingly and wilfully perverted the course of justice by corruptly soliciting and procuring false testimony.

Nshogoza was charged for attempting to persuade prosecution witnesses to give false testimony in favour of former minister of Education and Culture, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda who had already been convicted for genocide and sentenced by the Tribunal for life imprisonment in 2004.

The prosecution concluded its case on February 18 after presenting five witnesses whereas the defence did the same after fielding 11 witnesses including the accused.

Nshogoza surrendered himself to the Tribunal at its seat in Arusha, Tanzania on February 8, 2008 and his trial began on February 9, 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency