Arusha, June 14, 2010 (FH) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) requested on Monday the maximum penalty on appeal against former senior civil servant Callixte Kalimanzira.

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Kalimanzira, an agronomist by training, was during the closing stages of the1994 genocide acting Minister of the Interior within the ranks of the "Hutu power" government.

On June 22, 2009, he was found guilty of genocide and incitement to commit genocide and handed down a 30 years sentence.

The lower court had concluded that on April 23, 1994, Kalimanzira ordered soldiers and policemen to shoot thousands of Tutsis who had sought refuge at Kabuye Hill following his suggestion.

Mitigating circumstances were given to the defendant who, in the eyes of his first judges, had not evinced any particular zeal or sadism. "He did not personally kill anyone and only remained at the [killing] sites for brief periods," noted the three-bench judges.

Both parties had filed an appeal.

"He gave the order to kill Tutsis and they were immediately killed", argued Prosecutor Charity Kagwy, who deemed the sentence too lenient given the high number of victims.

For his part, Kalimanzira's Lead Defence Counsel Arthur Vercken requested an acquittal, asserting that the tribunal convicted his client "on faith of vague and contradictory testimonies".

He also said that the Lower court "twisted defence testimonies in order to reject them".

Callixte Kalimanzira came last to the stand. He claimed one more time that he was innocent and appealed to his appeal judges to "rehabilitate" him.

Date of the judgment will be announced later.

Kalimanzira gave himself up to the Tanzanian authorities in November 2005. Previously, he had lived with his family in neighbouring Kenya.


© Agence Hirondelle