The Prosecution and the Defence, from 24 to 26 June 2009, presented their closing arguments in the Ndindiliyimana et al, formerly “Military II” trial, before Trial Chamber II composed of Judges; Asoka de Silva, Presiding, Taghrid Hikmet and Seon Ki Park .
The case involves four former military officials: General Augustin Bizimungu, former Rwandan Army Chief of Staff; General Augustine Ndindiliyimana, former Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie Nationale; Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, former Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion (REECE) of the Rwandan Army; and Innocent Sagahutu former second in command of the Reconnaissance Battalion and Commander of the A company of the battalion.
The Prosecution prayed for conviction of the accused and imposition of life imprisonment because it argued that the evidence presented proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they ordered, encouraged and supported the massacres against the Tutsi population and moderate Hutu.
The Prosecution added that the evidence proved that the accused who were senior army officers and who had the duty of promoting peace and security in Rwanda abandoned their role and turned against the Tutsi and moderate Hutus and committed the offences.
The Defence lawyers, however, called for the acquittal of their respective clients arguing that the Prosecution had not proven the allegations against them beyond a reasonable doubt. They argued that the Prosecution had produced witnesses whose testimony was inconsistent, incoherent and contradictory and that it was unsafe to rely on such material to convict the accused.
The accused are jointly charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or in the alternative complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and the Second Additional Protocol (war crimes).
The trial, which began in September 2004, took 392 trial days, during which time 208 witnesses testified; 72 for the prosecution and 136 for the defence. The Prosecution was led by Senior Trial Attorney Alphonse Van, assisted by Moussa Sefon, Abubakar Tambadou and Lloyd Strickland. Counsel for the Defence were Yves Saint-Laurent (Bizimungu), Christopher Black (Ndindiliyimana), Charles Taku (Nzuwonemeye) and Fabien Segatwa (Sagahutu).