Arusha, November 30, 2012 (FH) – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will deliver its judgment in the case of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware on December 20, 2012, a statement issued by the Tribunal on Friday says. It will be the last case for ICTR first instance.

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If there is an appeal, the matter will be heard by the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), which takes over the remaining essential functions of the ICTR and that of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

During presentation of the closing arguments on July 23, 2012, the prosecution asked a Trial Chamber presided by Judge William Hussein Sekule to hand down the maximum sentence to the ex-minister, for his alleged role in the 1994 Tutsi genocide.

In light of the evidence presented, the prosecution claimed, Ngirabatware’s genocidal intent was proved beyond reasonable doubt. “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.

But the defence countered the prosecution’s arguments and called for acquital of the defendant for  lack of proof of charges against him. According to the defence, the alibi evidence presented by Ngirabatware was more than credible and raised reasonable doubts.

The defence said Ngirabatware’s evidence, indicating that he never took part in the killings of Tutsis in his home commune, was “objective, neutral and with high probative value.”

During the trial, Ngirabatware raised a set of defence of alibi, alleging, among others, that between April 6 and 12, 1994, he was in Kigali and later between April 23 and May 23, 1994 he was on missions in various countries, including Senegal, Gabon and Swaziland. The prosecution had contended that during the period in question, the accused was in Gisenyi prefecture, particularly in Nyamyumba commune, where he allegedly committed crimes.

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.

A doctor in economics, Ngirabatware was arrested in Germany in connection with the charges on September 17, 2007 and transferred to ICTR custody in Arusha, Tanzania on October 8, 2008. His trial took off on September 22, 2009.