Rwanda: Closing Arguments Presented in Gatete Trial

Source ICTR: On  8 November 2010 the Prosecution and the Defence presented their closing arguments  in  the  trial  of Jean-Baptiste Gatete, former Mayor of Murambi Commune  in  Byumba  prefecture  and later Director in the Women and Family Affairs  Ministry.  The  accused  is  charged  with  six  counts  including Genocide,  or,  in  the  alternative, complicity in genocide; conspiracy to commit  genocide;  and the crimes against humanity of extermination, murder and rape.

The Prosecution  called  for the conviction of Gatete, and imposition of a life  sentence  following what  it  argued was, strong evidence presented against him.

Senior  Trial Attorney, Drew White (Canada) told Trial Chamber III composed of  Judges Khalida Khan, presiding, Lee Gacuiga Muthoga and Aydin Akay that the  evidence  by prosecution witnesses detailed the actions of the killers and  their victims and role played by the accused in the killings in Byumba and Kibungo prefectures in April 1994.

The  Defence  led  by  Counsel Marie-Pierre Poulain (France) prayed for the acquittal  of  the accused arguing that the Prosecution had failed to prove the  case  against  the  accused. It  further pointed out that prosecution witness  evidence  had  several  shortcomings  including contradictions and hearsay evidence.

The Prosecution called 22 witnesses while 27 witnesses testified for the Defence. The accused himself elected not to testify.

The  accused was arrested on 11 September 2002 by the Congolese authorities acting  on  a warrant of arrest issued by the Tribunal on 19 December 2000. He was  transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha on 13 September 2002  and  pleaded  not  guilty to the previous ten counts contained in the first  indictment  on  20 September 2002 during his initial appearance. His trial began on 20 October 2009.