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Prosecution Asks Life Imprisonment for Muhimana

Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda heard closing arguments today in the trial of Mika Muhimana, former Councilor of Gishyita in Kibuye prefecture. Muhimana is charged with four counts of genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity for rape and murder. The Prosecution called for the Tribunal to sentence the accused to imprisonment for remainder of his natural life, while the Defence urged the Chamber to acquit the accused.

The Prosecution, represented by Charles Adeogun-Phillips and Wallace Kapaya, which concluded its case on Wednesday 19 January 2005 asked the Trial Chamber to impose the life sentence in light of the gravity of the offences with which the accused is charged, the aggravating circumstances and lack of mitigating factors. The Prosecution addressed the Chamber on Murder as a Crime against Humanity, as charged in the Indictment and also addressed the issue of sentencing, and urged the Chamber to bear in mind the principles of justice, retribution, and reconstruction when sentencing the Accused.

In their closing argument, Professor Nyabirungu Mwene Songa and Richard Kazadi Kabimba, Defence Counsel for the accused, while urging the Chamber to acquit the accused, argued that the evidence brought against his client was not convincing. S onga also argued that rape charges against the accused should be dismissed because they were not properly pleaded in the indictment.

he Prosecution told the Trial Chamber that evidence presented showed that the accused participated in killing thousands of Tutsi civilians and widespread rape of Tusti women at several locations in Kibuye prefecture and that Muhimana also encouraged others to kill and rape women. “Muhimana was second to none in raping women during the entire Rwandan genocide in April, May and June 1994,” the Prosecution emphasized.

The Prosecution also said that Muhimana has shown no remorse for the crimes he is charged with. The Prosecution added that he has neither apologized to the victims nor cooperated with the Prosecution. Judgment in the case will be delivered later this year.

Trial Chamber III is composed of judges Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan) presiding, Lee Gacuiga Muthoga (Kenya) and Emile Francis Short (Ghana).

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