Monday, May 18, 2009

Rwanda: Canadian Court to Pass First Genocide Verdict This Week

By Felly Kimenyi
The New Times-Kigali
May 18, 2009

Kigali — Following the announcement by Canadian judiciary that the verdict of genocide suspect Desire Munyaneza is due on Friday, different bodies have expressed optimism that he will be found guilty.

Munyaneza, the first person to be tried under the Canadian War Crimes Tribunal, is accused of orchestrating massacres of thousands in Butare, now in the Southern Province, and his trial has been ongoing for the last two years.

"The trial itself was an important milestone on behalf of Canada in bringing to book those who committed the Genocide, but we shall of course have to wait for the verdict," said Augustin Nkusi, the spokesperson of the National Public Prosecutions Authority.

He said that as prosecution, they did all that was necessary including providing Canadian prosecution with the facts of the case.

Munyaneza's trial saw dozens of witnesses flown from Rwanda to Canada to recount what they suffered at the hands of the suspect during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

He is accused of seven counts that include; genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes which mainly constituted rape.

According to Canadian press, each of the seven counts carries life in prison on conviction.

"Other countries should also take this route and prosecute suspects that are freely roaming there we are ready to help in any way, especially giving them what we have on the suspects," said Nkusi.

The umbrella body of Genocide Survivors' association IBUKA is also 'eagerly' waiting for the verdict to be passed by Superior Court Justice André Denis.

"We have confidence that justice will prevail, there was overwhelming evidence, different witnesses testified, and we are optimistic of a guilty verdict," said Benoit Kaboyi, IBUKA's Executive Secretary.

Munyaneza, 42 was a businessman and is said to have worked in cohort with former Minister of Family and Women Promotion Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, in killing and raping thousands in Butare.

Both Nyiramasuhuko and Ntahobari are awaiting verdict at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Their trial ended last month.

Prosecution sought for life imprisonment for both and the Trial Chamber is still deliberating the case.

Munyaneza was arrested as he was attempting to get refugee status, and during the course of his trial, a fellow inmate attacked him in prison after reading from newspapers accounts of witnesses who accused him of murder and rape.

He is held in isolation to protect him from other prisoners.

Related Materials:

Trial Watch : Désiré Munyaneza

Rwandan woman says Desire Munyaneza raped her, killed many others Rwanda: Desire Munyaneza's Defence Begins Its Case


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