Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today convicted and sentenced Léonidas Nshogoza, former Defence investigator during the trial of Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, to 10 months imprisonment for committing contempt of the Tribunal. The Chamber however gave credit for time served to the accused, who has been in custody of the Tribunal since 8 February 2008 and ordered his immediate release.
The Chamber composed of Judges Khalida Rachid Khan, presiding, Lee Gacuiga Muthoga and Aydin Sefa Akay, found Nshogoza guilty on one count; for committing contempt of the Tribunal by repeatedly meeting with and disclosing the protected information of two Witnesses (GAA & A7/GEX), in knowing violation of, or with reckless indifference to the protective measures ordered by the Kamuhanda Trial Chamber on 7 July 2000.
The Chamber acquitted him on the other three counts. Nshogoza was initially charged with four counts: two counts (one and two) of contempt of the Tribunal and two counts (three and four) of attempt to commit acts punishable as contempt of the Tribunal.
In its judgment the Chamber noted that the Prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Nshogoza attempted to commit acts punishable as contempt of the Tribunal.
The Chamber in rendering its judgment also took into account, on the one hand, the aggravating factors, which included his repeated meetings with protected witnesses, his background of having studies law, his position as an investigator in the Kamuhanda defence team, as well as in the Rukundo case and his admission to submitting a false claim for fees to the Tribunal. On the other hand, the Chamber also took into account the mitigating factors including the family circumstances of the Accused, who has three children aged 14, 15 and 17, his cooperation with the Tribunal through his voluntary surrender on 8 February 2008, his having no past criminal record.
The trial commenced on 9 February 2009 and concluded on 30 March 2009. Five witnesses testified for the Prosecutor, and 11 witnesses for the Defence, including Nshogoza himself. The Prosecution team was led by Richard Karegyesa Senior Trial Attorney assisted by Abdoulaye Seye and Dennis Mabura while the accused was represented by Allison Turner.