At the time of the genocide, Ngirumpatse was the President of the then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, and Karemera was its Vice-President. The two men are charged with seven counts including genocide, complicity in genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, allegedly committed by members of their party's youth wing, the Interahamwe.
The Interahamwe was a Hutu paramilitary organization formed by groups of young males who allegedly were the main perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The prosecution has notably indicted the duo for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party.
To support the charges, the prosecution fielded 46 witnesses, of whom 30 appeared before the Chamber for direct examination, while the evidence of 16 others was admitted through their written statements. The defence called a total of 74 witnesses to challenge the allegations.
During presentation of closing arguments on August 22, 2011, the prosecution requested for life imprisonment sentence to be handed down.
Counsel for the accused requested for justice to be observed in the trial and sought for a guiltless verdict, citing inconsistencies of prosecution witnesses' testimony. They alleged that prosecution's evidence was produced by dubious and doubtful witnesses, thus, acquittal for the accused was unavoidable.
Earlier, the prosecution had charged Ngirumpatse and Karemera jointly with former MRND Secretary General, Joseph Nzirorera. The Tribunal, however, terminated the proceedings against Nzirorera following his death on July 1, 2010. Until his death, Nzirorera was still presenting his defence case.
© Hirondelle News Agency