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The Former Bourgmestre Of Mukingo Convicted Of Genocide

Juvénal Kajelijeli, former bourgmestre of Mukingo, was convicted today for crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994 and sentenced to serve in prison for the remainder of his life. He was sentenced as follows: for genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity: imprisonment for the remainder of his life; and for direct and public incitement to commit genocide: 15 years imprisonment. The sentences will be served concurrently. He was given credit of five years, five months and 25 days for time spent in custody while awaiting the disposition of his case.

The Judgment was delivered by Judges William H. Sekule (Presiding), Winston C. Matanzima Maqutu and Arlette Ramaroson, sitting as Trial Chamber II. In their verdict on the 11-count Indictment on which Mr Kajelijeli was tried, the Tribunal found him guilty on three counts: genocide (count 2); direct and public incitement to commit genocide (count 4); and, extermination as a crime against humanity (count 6).

Three of the counts were dismissed as follows: the count of complicity in genocide (count 3) which was an alternative count to the count of genocide. In accordance with the Tribunal’s practice, an accused cannot be convicted on both. The Tribunal also dismissed the count of murder as a crime against humanity (count 5) because the facts on which it was based are the same as the facts presented in the count of extermination as a crime against humanity. The count of persecution as a crime against humanity (count 8) was also dismissed because the Prosecution withdrew the count at the end of the trial.

In their judgment, the Trial Chamber found Mr Kajelijeli not guilty on the following three counts: conspiracy to commit genocide (count 1); rape as a crime against humanity (count 7); and, other inhumane acts of crimes against humanity (count 9). Earlier on 13 September 2002, following a Motion of no case to answer made by the Defence at the close of the case for the Prosecution, the Tribunal partially granted the Defence Motion and found consequently on that occasion that he was not guilty of the two counts of war crimes—i.e. the charge of violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons (count 10); and causing outrages upon personal dignity (count 11). This brings to a total of five the number of counts in the Indictment upon which Mr Kajelijeli was found not guilty.

Judge Ramaroson dissented with her two colleagues on the verdict in respect of rape. In her judgment, Mr Kajelijeli is also guilty of rape as a crime against humanity, according to the evidence led by the Prosecution. These charges arose out of Mr Kajelijeli’s role in the attacks against Tutsis in Mukingo, Nkuli, Kinigi and Kigombe communes, in Ruhengeri Prefecture, during the month of April 1994. The Tribunal heard testimony from witnesses that during that month, and specifically between 7 April 1994 and 8 April 1994, large numbers of Tutsi civilians were massacred in their homes, such as at Kinyababa cellule in Nkuli commune, and at places of refuge, such as Busogo Hill in Mukingo commune, at a residential compound in Mukingo Commune, and at the Convent of Busogo Parish. The Tribunal also heard testimony that around 14 April 1994 the Tutsis who had sought refuge at the Ruhengeri Court of Appeal, in Kigombe commune, were massacred.

During the trial, there was also evidence presented regarding specific killings, rapes and assaults upon Tutsis in various locations in Ruhengeri Prefecture in April 1994. The Prosecutor called 14 witnesses and the Defence called 28 witnesses in a combined total of 78 trial days. From 14 to 16 July 2003,the parties presented their oral closing arguments. For the Prosecution the presentation was made by Ms Ifeoma Ojemeni (Nigeria); and for the Defence by Mr Lennox Hinds (USA) and Mr Nkeyi Bompaka,(The Democratic Republic of Congo). On 16 July 2003, the proceedings were adjourned sine die, for deliberations.

Mr Kajelijeli was born on 26 December 1951 in Mukingo commune, Ruhengeri Prefecture, and served as a bourgmestre of Mukingo commune from 1988 to 1993. He was re-appointed bourgmestre of Mukingo commune in June 1994 and remained in that position until mid July 1994. Mr Kajelijeli was arrested in Benin on 5 June 1998. He was transferred to the Tribunal’s Detention Facility on 9 September 1998. He pleaded not guilty to all counts contained in the Indictment. The Trial started on 13 March 2001. However, due to the death of Judge Laïty Kama, at that time Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber II, the Trial was postponed. The trial commenced de novo on 4 July 2001 with a reconstituted Trial Chamber.

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