23.06.09 - ICTR/RENZAHO - ICTR: JUDGEMENT OF EX-KIGALI GOVERNOR SET FOR 14 JULY

Arusha, 23 June 2009 (FH) -  The judgement of  genocide-accused former Kigali Governor , Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho, will be delivered on 14 July before the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), according to the UN Court's press release Tuesday.
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The ICTR, which is directed by the UN Security Council to complete all first instance trials by at least end of this year, on Monday delivered its second judgement this year so far of the former acting Rwandan Interior Minister at the height of the 1994 killings, Callixte Kalimanzira, who was jailed for 30 years for his role in the genocide.   

The first judgement for this year was delivered in February that of Priest Emmanuel Rukundo, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The trial of Colonel Renzaho was closed on 15 February, last year.  The trial was held during 49 days spread out over 13 months and 52 witnesses (24 prosecution and defence 28, including the defendant) testified. The trial had opened on 8 January, 2007.

The prosecution had requested the conviction of Renzaho for genocide and crimes against humanity including rapes, while the defence had asked for an acquittal. The defendant has pleaded not guilty.

In his closing remarks, the defendant expressed his remorse and stated that he was innocent. "I stand to express my deep compassion towards all the victims of terrible tragedy which terrorized Rwanda in 1994 and which does not stop producing extremely fatal aftershocks in the area", he said.

The prosecution, however, stressed that Renzaho had control over the militia, which spearheaded the Tutsi genocide in 1994.

French lawyer Francois Cantier, who led Renzaho's defence, had claimed that his client was prosecuted only because he was "an enemy" of the current regime in power in Kigali.''

He added that the former Kigali Governor resisted the attacks by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) and protected the population from massacres.

Renzaho, former soldier, was the last civilian official in the capital after the entire government fled to the south of the country in 1994. In spite of the collapse of the state, he remained at his post until the advancing pro-Tutsi RPF gained military victory.

The trial is presided by Judge Erik Mose (Norway), assisted by Judges Serguei Egorov (Russia) and Rita Arrey (Cameroon).

SC/GF

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