Arusha, January 27, 2010 (FH) - In the MRND case more than in any other cases brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow intends to prove that the defendants are guilty of "complicity to commit genocide". To achieve this goal, he asserts that they participated in a "joint criminal enterprise" and had a "superior responsibility" over MRND's militants.

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Three top leaders of the then ruling party MRND (National Republican Movement of Democracy and Development) are defending themselves in this trial, which opened in September 2005.

Mathieu Ngirumpatse was in 1994 President of the party, Edouard Karemera was its vice-president and Joseph Nzirorera its Secretary General.

« The joint criminal enterprise came into existence before January 1994 and continued until at least July 1994 », the prosecutor states in his 26-page indictment.

According to the Prosecution, participants in this joint criminal enterprise include various classes of persons coming from all over the country. Colonel Theoneste Bagosora and former Prime minister Jean Kambanda, who were both sentenced to life in jail, and Protais Zigiranyirazo, a relative of late president Juvenal Habyarimana who was acquitted in 2009, are among the politicians, officers, academics and businessmen mentioned by the Prosecution without forgetting the famous Interahamwe, some of whom, like Yussuf Munyakazi, the eldest ICTR detainee, who could hardly write their names.

"The prosecutor is unable to specifically identify each and every participant in the joint criminal enterprise", adds the indictment.

It further notes that "the crimes were so widespread and were committed so openly that each of the accused must have known, or ought to have been aware of them". The accused failed to take measures to prevent the crimes. Moreover, "they actively sought to conceal the crimes", claims the prosecutor.

According to the Prosecutor, "Interahamwe and other militiamen raped Tutsi women and girls in Ruhengeri prefecture during early-mid April 1994, in Kigali-Ville prefecture during April 1994, in Butare prefecture during mid-late April 1994, Kibuye prefecture during May-June 1994, and Gitarama prefecture during April and May 1994".

Meanwhile, "the three defendants were aware that rape was the natural and foreseeable consequence of the execution of the joint criminal enterprise and knowingly and willfully participated in the enterprise".

On October 17, Defence Counsel Nimy Mayidika Ngimbi declared in his opening statement that the evidence presented by the Prosecutor was "arranged if not entirely fabricated accounts which merely aim at harming the defendant."

For the Defence, "the existence of any link of subordination between Nzirorera and the killers" has not been proven.

"These crimes were perpetrated by individuals or groups of individuals. They were neither planned nor ordered by political leaders", Ngimbi argued.

The Court hopes to decide between the parties in 2010.


© Hirondelle News Agency