Arusha, July 25, 2012 (FH) – Canadian lawyer Mylene Dimitri Wednesday asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to acquit former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware for prosecution’s failure to prove the charges against him.

1 min 16Approximate reading time

“The evidence given by Ngirabatware is more than credible and raised more than reasonable doubt of the prosecution’s case and you should acquit him,” Dimitri told a Trial Chamber presided by Judge William Hussein Sekule on the third day of presentation of closing arguments.

She claimed that the defence of alibi for Ngirabatware, indicating that he never took part in the killings of Tutsis in his home commune of Nyamyumba in Gisenyi prefecture, North Rwanda, was “objective, neutral and with high probative value.”

During the trial, Ngirabatware raised a set of defence of alibi, alleging that between April 23 and May 23, 1994 he was on mission in various countries, including Senegal, Gabon and Swaziland.

But the prosecution had been contending that during the period in question, the accused was in Gisenyi prefecture, particularly in Nyamyumba commune, where he allegedly committed crimes.

According to the defence lawyer, Ngirabatware produced several documentary evidence including his own passport showing different entries and visas, press interviews of different media organs and letters from embassies abroad proving his absence from Rwanda during the genocide.

However, in the closing brief, the prosecutor claimed that the alibi evidence produced by the accused was contradicted by his own witnesses and that of the prosecution.

Trial Attorney Wallace Kapaya claimed further that defence witnesses who testified in support of alibi were his close friends and relatives and, hence, they had an interest to save the defendant. He also said that the entries in Ngirabatware's passport were forged. 

“In light of obvious contradictions and the nature of friendship of these witnesses, I ask you to reject this evidence. It is not likely to raise any reasonable doubt of the prosecution’s case,” Kapaya submitted.

The parties completed the presentation of the oral arguments and the case was adjourned sine die