During closing arguments presented on November 8, 2010, Senior Trial Attorney Drew White requested the Tribunal to hand down life imprisonment sentence to the defendant if convicted of offences of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity.
However, the defendant's lead counsel Marie-Pierre Poulain requested for acquittal of her client, saying the prosecution failed to substantiate the charges beyond reasonable doubts.
Gatete, who also served as mayor of Murambi commune in Byumba prefecture (Northeast Rwanda) between 1987 and 1993, was relieved of his duty amidst allegations of persecuting Tutsis. But soon after, he was appointed Director in the Women and Family Affairs Ministry then headed by Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who is also waiting for judgement in her case at ICTR.
He was a member of the National Congress of former ruling party, MRND, and was active in party politics both at national and provincial level. He allegedly continued to control local police, gendarmes and militiamen in Byumba and Kibungo prefectures after his dismissal and used his influence to organize massacres of Tutsis in both prefectures.
Gatete was arrested in Congo-Brazzaville on September 11, 2002, and subsequently transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha. His trial started on October 20, 2009.
This is the first judgement of the year during which judgements at the first instance level are expected in cases involving 20 other accused, among them former ministers and generals of the Rwandan army.
© Hirondelle News Agency