Arusha, October 20, 2011 (FH) - Prosecution concluded on Thursday the presentation of its closing arguments by requesting the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to hand down a maximum sentence of life imprisonment against former Rwandan Youth Minister, Callixte Nzabonimana.

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‘'The prosecution asks life imprisonment for each of the counts charged against Nzabonimana,'' Senior Trial Attorney Paul Ng'arua pleaded before the Chamber presided by Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa. Nzabonimana is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murders.

According to the Prosecution, Nzabonimana was the main instigator of massacres of Tutsis in his native prefecture of Gitarama (central Rwanda) in 1994.

‘'Nzabonimana was not a Minister in Norway or Sweden but a Minister in Rwanda. He was seen as a lion in Gitarama prefecture in 1994. He stood up and called upon the population to begin the killings against Tutsis, and his orders were carried out'', the Kenyan Attorney charged.

Ng'arua added that the accused "claimed to have a final solution for the threats posed by Tutsis in the churches and elsewhere". He asserted that shortly after this speech, Tutsis were hunted down and killed in schools and churches where they had sought refuge.

According to the lawyer, some of the killers then went to see Nzabonimana claiming: ‘'Sir, with the weapons you gave us, we killed two Tutsis.'' The defendant allegedly congratulated them, gave them money and banana beer.

At last, Paul Ng'arua rejected the accused defence of alibi according to which he was hiding at the French embassy on April 8 and 9, and therefore could not have been organizing and supervising massacres in Nyabikenke at the same time. ‘'People who sought refuge at the French embassy could get in and out of the premise without any control,'' he said, asking the Chamber to dismiss the alibi.    

The ex-minister was arrested in Tanzania on February 18, 2008, and his trial started on November 9, 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency