Arusha, June 16, 2010 (FH) - The prosecution Wednesday asked the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to uphold the conviction of genocide, murder and rape and the life imprisonment sentence imposed on former Kigali Governor, Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho.

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"The Chamber should uphold the conviction on all offences the appellant was found guilty and the sentence imposed by the Trial Chamber,"  Senegalese prosecutor, Mr Abdoulaye Seye, submitted.

He said that there was sufficient evidence establishing guilt of Renzaho in killings of Tutsi civilians at various places in Kigali, including at road blocks and Saint Famille Church and raping of Tutsi women under his direct control and orders.

"There was sufficient evidence given by witnesses who confessed in Rwanda before coming here that they advanced killings at road blocks in response to the appellant orders," he submitted.

According to him, Renzaho gave orders to select Tutsi men to be killed among refugees, leaving women whom he described as "food for assailants."

Seye brushed aside Renzaho's claim that he never received fair trial for failure of his "potential" witnesses to testify because they were intimidated.

 "The appellant had the obligation to establish witnesses' intimidation. Nothing prevented him to secure the testimony of the witnesses. Therefore, he suffered no prejudice because he was able to complete his defence," added.

Defence counsel François Cantier (France) challenged the Trial Chamber's verdict, submitting that his client was not accorded with fair trial because most of witnesses he described as potential did not testify.

"The number of essential witnesses who were to appear to testify refused to come to Arusha because they were threatened and intimidated," he argued.

In his part, Renzaho asked the Appeals Chamber to observe justice, saying, "I am now pleading to your sense of justice," claiming that  he had not participated in any plan to eliminate the Tutsis.

Trial Chamber I convicted Renzaho on July 14, 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency