Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), today sentenced Siméon Nchamihigo, former Deputy Prosecutor in Cyangugu Prefecture to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of genocide, extermination, murder and other inhumane act as crimes against humanity.
In sentencing Nchamihigo, the Trial Chamber, composed of Judges Charles Michael Dennis Byron (presiding), Gberdao Gustave Kam and Robert Fremr, took into account in particular that he committed the crimes despite his position as a Rwandan prosecutor.
The Chamber finds that on 7 April 1994, Siméon Nchamihigo told Interahamwe to seek out and kill Tutsi with the intention to destroy the Tutsi ethnic group and other civilians who were RPF accomplices, as part of a widespread attack against civilians in Cyangugu. The Chamber also finds that Siméon Nchamihigo participated in various attacks on refugee places. The Chamber further finds that he attended the prefecture Security Council meetings on 11 and 14 April 1994, and that some of the massacres were planned during those meetings, especially the transfer of Tutsi refugees to the Kamarampaka stadium and the subsequent removal of some of them who were killed.
Among the aggravating factors in this case, the Chamber notes that Siméon Nchamihigo, as a deputy prosecutor of Cyangugu Prefecture, was in a prominent public position of trust; yet he exhibited zeal in the perpetration of these grave crimes. Because of his position in the justice system, he was expected to uphold the rule of law and principles of morality.
The Chamber finds few mitigating circumstances. While the accused may be a good father, this factor has little impact on the sentence. Evidence also exists that the accused assisted a few people especially close to him. This factor carries limited weight as a mitigating factor in light of the totality of the evidence. The Chamber believes that limited mitigation is warranted.
He was charged with four counts. On 29 June 2001, he pleaded not guilty to all charges during his initial appearance.
Nchamihigo was arrested in Arusha by Tanzanian authorities on 19 May 2001 at the request of the ICTR Prosecutor. He was transferred to the Tribunal's Detention Facility on 25 May 2001. The accused was represented by Denis Turcotte from Canada. The Prosecution was led by Alphonse Van, Senior Trial Attorney, assisted by trial attorneys Adama Niane, Lloyd Strickland, and Madeleine Schawrtz .