Arusha, November 18, 2010 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will deliver its judgement on December 6, in the case of genocide-accused and former Rwandan military officer Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana.

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According to a scheduling order by ICTR made available to Hirondelle News Agency on Thursday, the judgement would be handed down by Trial Chamber II presided by Judge Arlette Ramaroson from Madagascar.

A native of Mugina Commune, in the former prefecture of Gitarama, central Rwanda, Hategekimana has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including genocide, crimes against humanity, murder and rape.

According to the indictment, the massacres against ethnic Tutsis were allegedly carried out at Ngoma parish, Matyazo primary school, Matyazo dispensary and at Beneberika Convent in Butare prefecture, Southern Rwanda, between April and May 1994.

The prosecution alleges that the accused was present when soldiers from Ngoma military camp, where he was then the commander, and armed civilians actively participated in the massacres.   

During closing arguments on April 28, 2010, the prosecution requested for maximum penalty of life imprisonment to be imposed on the accused if convicted of the offences, but the defence sought for his acquittal.

Prosecution counsel William Egbe from Cameroon claimed that the evidence adduced by several witnesses showed the accused was directly responsible in killings of numerous people in extremely brutal manner.

‘'Taking into consideration the gravity of the offences, individual and superior responsibilities, absence of mitigating factors, the prosecution proposes the most appropriated sentence for the defendant to be imprisonment for the remainder of his life for each count found guilty,'' Egbe emphasized.

However, Togolese lead defence counsel Ahlonko Dovi claimed that the prosecution did not prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. ‘'Serve justice to Hategekimana by simply acquitting him for the sole reason of inadequate evidence,'' the counsel pleaded.

Hategekimana was arrested in Congo Brazzaville on February 16, 2003 and transferred to Arusha UN-Detention three days later.

His trial started on March 16, 2009. The prosecution concluded its case on May 4, 2009 after presenting 20 witnesses and the defence rested its case on October 7, same year, after fielding the same number of witnesses.


© Hirondelle News Agency