KIGALI - Prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), yesterday, gave a detailed statement that individually linked Genocide suspect Jean-Baptiste Gatete to all the crimes levelled against him.
Gatete is charged with six counts that include; Genocide or complicity in the alternative, conspiracy to commit Genocide, and extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity.
Acting Chief of Prosecution, Richard Karegyesa, likened the accused to a hurricane laying waste anything in its path, saying that he descended on Mukarange parish, Eastern province on April 12 1994 and supplied Interahamwe militias with grenades that were used to kill thousands of Tutsi civilians.
“Responsible for thousands of deaths, there can be few individuals in the hall of infamy who have as much blood on their hand as does Jean-Baptiste Gatete,” Karegyesa said during the commencement of Gatete’s trial.
Appearing before Trial Chamber III of the tribunal presided over by judge Khalida Rachid Khan, the prosecution said that they would summon various witnesses and co-perpetrators who will testify and present evidence to prove the accused’s individual responsibility in the killings.
To prove his case, Karegyesa added that prosecution will also present evidence of survivors as well as innocent men and women whom he said were traumatised for life for having been born Tutsi.
The prosecution singled out the family of a witness code named BCS, whom it is alleged lost his father, mother and sisters all killed at the instigation and in the presence of Gatete.
“That BCS lived to tell his story is a miracle; shot at by Gatete and hacked with machetes by Nkundabazungu and a communal policeman, BCS was left for dead,” Karegyesa narrated.
Gatete was arrested on September 11, 2002, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 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 the same year and pleaded not guilty to the previous ten counts contained in the first indictment before its amendment.
Gatete is one of the suspects whom the ICTR Prosecutor had lined up for transfer for trial in Rwandan courts but this request was turned down by the trial chamber.