Arusha, May 6, 2011 (FH) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Bubacar Jallow, has lodged a notice of appeal against the judgement of the Tribunal for not convicting of conspiracy to commit genocide former Rwandan Director in the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Gatete.

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A Trial Chamber, on March 29, 2011, sentenced Gatete to life imprisonment after convicting him of genocide and extermination, as a crime against humanity. It noted that the proven allegations supported convictions for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide as well as extermination and murder as crimes against humanity.

"The large-scale killings, and the disposal of bodies, were carried out in a highly efficient manner. In sum, the Chamber finds that the conduct of those involved was concerted and coordinated for the purposes of killing Tutsis. This level of coordination could only have been achieved through prior agreement and planning among those involved," it ruled.

However, the Chamber dismissed the offence of conspiracy to commit genocide, ruling that it could not enter convictions where cumulative convictions based on the same facts were not permissible. It particularly concluded that it was impermissible to enter convictions for both genocide and conspiracy to commit genocide based on the same facts.

In the notice of appeal dated May 3, 2011, Jallow is requesting the Appeals Chamber to correct the Trial Chamber's such error and find that cumulative convictions are permissible for conspiracy to commit genocide and genocide and should, then, enter an additional conviction for the offence.

"The Trial Chamber erred in law when it failed to convict Jean-Baptiste Gatete of conspiracy to commit genocide. The Chamber found Gatete criminally responsible for both genocide and conspiracy to commit genocide, but failed to enter conviction for the conspiracy. This error invalidated the Chamber's decision," the prosecutor stated.

He added, "If the Trial Chamber had applied the law correctly in relation to cumulative convictions, a separate conviction would have been entered under count (of) conspiracy to commit genocide."

The prosecutor, in most cases concluded for trial at ICTR, has failed to prove the offence of conspiracy to commit genocide against perpetrators linked with the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Gatete, through his lead counsel Marie Pierre Poulain, has also lodged a notice of appeal to challenge both conviction and the sentence imposed on him. He is asking the Appeals Chamber to acquit him on all counts in the indictment.

In its judgement, the Trial Chamber found beyond reasonable doubt that Gatete was responsible for deaths of hundreds, and possibly thousands of Tutsis at three different massacres cites in the Eastern Rwanda between April 7 and 12, 1994.

The massacre cites where the convict had played a crucial role includes in Rwankuba sector and Kiziguro parish in Murambi Commune, Byumba prefecture and Mukarange parish in Kayonza Commune, Kibungo prefecture.

Gatete (58) 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.


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