"I am asking for pardon … I regret what happened in Rwanda," Akayesu says in his final submission
The Prosecution today asked Trial Chamber 1 to impose a maximum sentence of life in prison on Jean Paul Akayesu, the former Bourgmestre of Taba who has already been found guilty of nine out fifteen counts he was charged with in connection with the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. The sentence will be pronounced on 2 October 1998 by Chamber 1, composed of Judge Laïty Kama, presiding and Judges Lennart Aspegren and Navanethem Pillay.
Prosecution Trial Attorney Pierre Prosper requested the Chamber to impose a sentence which is retributive and deterrent because of the gravity of the offence committed by the accused in Taba commune in Rwanda in 1994.
The Prosecutor asked the Chamber to impose multiple sentences of life imprisonment on the accused for count one of Genocide, count three of Crimes Against Humanity (extermination), count four, Direct and Public Incitement to Commit Genocide (incitement), and count thirteen of Crimes Against Humanity (rape). He also asked for multiple sentencing to life imprisonment or a minimum of 30 years for counts five, seven, and nine of Crimes Against.Humanity (murder), a minimum of 25 years in prison for count eleven of Crimes Against Humanity (torture) and 10 years imprisonment for count fourteen, Crimes Against Humanity (inhumane acts).
The Prosecutor argued that, in determining the sentence, the Chamber should take into account the general practice in Rwanda regarding prison sentences, the gravity of the offence, and the individual circumstances of the convicted person, any circumstances in aggravation and/or mitigation and consider other sources in arriving at a sentence.
In his final submission, Mr. Akayesu said he joined other Rwandans in paying homage to the victims of the tragedy which befell Rwanda in 1994. However, he said, he was powerless to stop the many deaths which occurred then. "I was a mere bourgmestre with only eight police officers,” he told the court.
The accused said that he did not carry out the task of protecting the people in his commune and was not able to prevent the killings because he was weak. “I am asking for pardon ... I regret what happened in Rwanda. I also lost my relatives, my friends and many others," he told the court. The accused who said he did not accept responsibil)ty for what happened jn Rwanda in 1994 added, "I cry for all these people and God please forgive me. "I place my fate in your hands, Honourable Judges, and before God. I am innocent in this case."
Mr. Akayesu made his own final submission in the case following the withdrawal of Counsel, having indicated that he no longer wished to be represented by them. A new defence Counsel will take up the case during the appeal stage.
Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of UK visits the Tribunal
On Saturday 26 September 1998, Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne of the:.United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, visited the Tribunal and held talks with President Judge Laïty Kama, Judges and senior officials of the Tribunal. The Princess, accompanied by her husband Commodore Timothy Laurence, was also briefed on the activities and operations of the Tribunal during the visit.
United States Ambassador in Tanzania visits the Tribunal
The United States Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, Rev. Charles Stith today visited the Tribunal and held talks with the President, Judge Laïty Kama and senior officials of the Tribunal. The Ambassador, who has recently reported for duty in Tanzania, also attended the pre-sentencing hearing in the case of The Prosecutor vs. Jean Paul Akayesu.