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Closing Arguments made in Gregoire Ndahimana’s Case

Closing arguments have been presented in the case of Gregoire Ndahimana, former Mayor of Kivumu in Kibuye prefecture. On Wednesday, 21 September 2011, the Prosecution prayed for his conviction and imposition of life imprisonment while the Defence, on Thursday 22 September 2011, prayed for dismissal of his case and his acquittal.

The arguments were made before Trial Chamber III composed of Judges Florence Rita Arrey, presiding, Aydin Sefa Akay and Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov.

The Prosecution argued that evidence has been presented to prove that the accused played a pivotal role in the commission of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity in Kibuye prefecture. Specifically, it added that, evidence shows that the accused was liable as a principal offender in planning, instigating, ordering, aiding and abetting the killings that took place in Nyange Parish.

The Defence argued that Ndahimana was not liable for the crimes committed because he had an alibi proving that he was not present at the massacre site at the time the offences were committed. It also added that the Prosecution witnesses were not credible and that he took all measures in his capacity to prevent the crimes.

At the end of the session the Trial Chamber announced that judgement of the case will be delivered before the end of this year.

According to the indictment, Ndahimana is alleged to have been, on or between the dates of 6 April 1994 and 20 April 1994, in Kivumu Commune, responsible for killing or causing bodily or mental harm to members of the Tutsi population. He is alleged to have planned the massacres of members of the population of mostly Tutsi ethnic group who had sought refuge at the Nyange Parish, jointly with Father Athanase Seromba (sentenced to 15 years in the first instance and to imprisonment for the remainder of his life after dismissal of his appeal) and Fulgence Kayishema (still at large). 

Ndahimana, 57, was arrested on 10 August 2009 at Kachuga Camp in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during a combined operation by the ICTR, the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONUC) and the DRC law enforcement agencies. He was transferred to the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha on 21 September 2009. His trial opened on 6 September 2010. The Prosecution called 15 witnesses whereas the Defence fielded 30 witnesses.

The Prosecution is led by Ms. Holo Makwaia assisted by Segun Jegede and Althea Alexis-Windsor and Counsel Barat Chadha from Tanzania is defending him assisted by Wilfred Nderitu from Kenya.

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