Arusha, July 23, 2012 (FH) – The prosecution Monday requested the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to hand down the maximum sentence of life imprisonment to former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware, for his role in the 1994 Tutsi genocide.

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Giving reasons why the ex-minister should be given such heaviest sentence, Trial Attorney Rashid Rashid said, “In light of the evidence presented, Ngirabatware’s genocidal intent has been proved beyond reasonable doubt”.

The prosecutor was presenting closing arguments before a Trial Chamber presided by Judge William Hussein Sekule. He submitted that Ngirabatware committed serious offences and participated in the joint criminal enterprise through coordination and interaction with others.

“He committed, prepared, incited, instigated, encouraged, abetted and approved the killings of Tutsi civilians. He committed these crimes in his home commune of Nyamyumba (in Gisenyi prefecture, north Rwanda),” the prosecutor submitted.

Rashid reminded the judges that they had heard evidence that a day after the plane crash that killed President Juvenal Habyarimana, on April 6, 1994, Ngirabatware went to his commune, where he allegedly delivered weapons.

The prosecutor submitted that as a minister in the interim government, member of MRND at the prefecture level and son-in-law of Felicien Kabuga, the accused was a driving force in his home commune and in Gisenyi prefecture as a whole.

“He engineered the election of Faustine Bagango, as Bourgmestre of the commune and set a focal point in the killings of Tutsis. They had common purposes. He used him to distribute weapons, organize and lead Interahamwe to kill Tutsi,” he said.

Rashid added, “Ngirabatware did not want to see any Tutsi in Nyamyumba Commune anymore.”

Ngirabatware is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.

Presentation of the closing arguments continues on Tuesday.