Arusha, December 07, 2011 (FH) - Prosecution in the case of  former Rwandan military officer, Captain Idelphose Nizeyimana Wednesday asked  the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to hand down life imprisonment sentence if the accused were convicted of crimes allegedly committed in the 1994 genocide.

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‘'The only appropriate punishment according to the prosecution position is the imposition of sentence of life imprisonment,'' Prosecution Attorney Drew White said before the Chamber Presided by Judge Lee Muthoga during closing arguments.

White, quoting some of the rules of discipline of the Rwandan army told the Chamber that the accused was duty bound to ensure the defence of the nation and public order but said that was not the case with the accused, claiming he did not punish those under his commander who committed the crimes.

According to the prosecution, Nizeyimana was second in command, in charge of intelligence and military operations at the Non-Commissioned Officers School (ESO) in Butare, ordering, supervising and organizing massacres of Tutsis in various places in the region, including that of Tutsi Queen Rosalie Gicanda, on April 21, 1994.

White mentioned about 15 utterances which he said constituted to the accused intention to commit the crimes against the Tutsis. ‘'The fate of the Tutsis have been sealed off, no Tutsi should survive or Inyenzi (Tutsis) should be exterminated clearly indicated the criminal intention,'' White quoted some of the statements allegedly   given during the court proceedings.

About the accused involvement in the killing of Queen Rosalie Gicanda, prosecution said credible witnesses had testified on the event including her granddaughter and a cook.

Lead defence Counsel John Philipot on his side said his client acted appropriately as an army officer during war times. He submitted that the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubts. ‘'My client was not in charge of ESO (Non-Commissioned Officers School), had no real powers and did not have defecto powers over the alleged subordinates,'' he elaborated.

 The Counsel also advanced defence of alibi showing that at some point in time within months of April and May, 1994, his client was at Mata Tea Factory in Gikongoro prefecture, conducting military training for new recruits.

‘'This trial is now under your hands. We urge you to stand up for the truth and justice to acquit Mr  Nizeyimana,'' Philpot concluded.                 

Capt. Nizeyimana opened his defence case on May 9, 2011 to counter charges of genocide, extermination, murder and rape.

He was arrested in Uganda on October 5, 2009 and transferred to the UN Detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania the following day. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in his initial appearance on October 14, 2009.

His trial took off on January 17, 2011 and the prosecution called 38 witnesses, whereas the defence also called the same closed its case on February 25, 2011.


© Hirondelle News Agency