‘'We urge the Appeals Chamber to boldly remedy this injustice and set aside the conviction because it was not based in law,'' Nsengiyumva's lead counsel Gershom Otachi Bw'amanwa told the Chamber presided by Judge Patrick Robinson.
Lt. Col. Nsengiyumva was Commander of the military operation sector in Gisenyi prefecture during the 1994 genocide. He was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes alongside two other former military officers and sentenced to life imprisonment on December 18, 2008.
The Chamber specifically found Nsengiyumnva responsible for targeted killings in Gisenyi town on April 7, 1994 including massacres which took place at Mudende University and Nyundo Parish.
The defence counsel argued that the Trial Chamber substituted direct allegations against the appellant with others which were never pleaded in the indictment and went ahead convicting him. ‘'The appellant was charged with direct participation in meetings in Gisenyi, where he allegedly ordered soldiers under him to kill Tutsis, training of Interahamwe militias, distribution of weapons and preparation of lists of people to be killed, all of which were dismissed by the Trial Chamber,'' he charged.
He claimed that the materials used by the Trial Chamber to convict his client were based on circumstantial and hearsay evidence with a number of inconsistencies on the evidence given by witnesses.
The defence counsel further elaborated that his client had no direct control of civilians, soldiers and militias who actively participated in the massacres.
Prosecution Counsel Abubacar Tambadou in his response told the Appeals Chamber that the defence team misconstrued the judgment, and hence the appellant grounds of appeal should be dismissed.
‘'The appellant was the most powerful and high ranking military officer in Gisenye, he put soldiers under his command to control movement of people and erect roadblocks and was even vigilant to make a tour of Gisenye town to see for himself what was happening around,'' Tambadou argued.
‘'The only reasonable inferences the Trial Chamber could draw is that the appellant ordered the killings,'' he emphasized.
© Hirondelle News Agency