Mucyo blames ICTR Prosecutors for priest’s release

The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Jean de Dieu Mucyo has attributed the release of Priest Hormisdas Nsengimana to laxity by prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
Jean de Dieu Mucyo
Jean de Dieu Mucyo

The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), Jean de Dieu Mucyo has attributed the release of Priest Hormisdas Nsengimana to laxity by prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

Nsengimana was yesterday acquitted by the tribunal’s trial Chamber I, composed of Judges Erik Møse (Norway), presiding, Sergei Alekseevich Egorov and Florence Rita Arrey.

The Catholic Priest had been accused of Genocide, Conspiracy to commit Genocide, and crimes against humanity, murder and extermination.

The  Chamber  did  not  find  a  sufficient  factual  and  legal  basis for concluding that Nsengimana was guilty of any of the crimes, although  prosecution had requested a life sentence for the priest  for killing innocent people in Nyanza, Southern Province.

But Mucyo described the release as a ‘sad and unfortunate moment’ adding that all this should be blamed on the ICTR prosecution which he said takes their work lightly when it comes to pinning Genocide suspects.

“It’s very painfully Zigiranyirazo has just been acquitted and we are getting such a case again, there must be something planned ahead,” Mucyo said.  

The CNLG boss added that the ICTR prosecution has on a number of occasions been caught up in situations where its witnesses are bribed just to doctor testimonies that would have pinned Genocide suspects.

At the time of his alleged crimes, Nsengimana was the head of the Christ the King College of Nyanza, Southern Province, where he was a leader of a death squad that included his members of staff.

Nsegimana’s acquittal comes just a day after the tribunal released Protais Zigiranyirazo an influential member of the infamous Akazu, and hardly a year after the release of Brigadier Gracien Kabiligi a man many consider played a strong military role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. 

The Priest was arrested in Cameroon in 2002 and made his initial appearance before the tribunal in April 2002.

Trial  Chamber  I, composed of Judges Erik Møse (Norway), presiding, Sergei Alekseevich  Egorov (Russian Federation) and Florence Rita Arrey (Cameroon) today  acquitted  Hormisdas  Nsengimana  of  genocide as well as murder and extermination as  crimes against  humanity. It then ordered his immediate release from the UN Detention Facility in Arusha.

During  the  1994 genocide in Rwanda, Nsengimana was a priest and rector of Collège  Christ-Roi,  a  prestigious  Catholic  secondary  school in Nyanza sector, Butare prefecture.

Nsengimana  was  alleged  to  have  been  at  the centre of a group of Hutu extremists that planned and carried out targeted attacks in Nyanza in 1994.

Moreover,  he purportedly participated directly and indirectly in killings.

The  Prosecution  sought  to  establish his criminal responsibility for the deaths  of several Tutsi priests, a judge, and many other Tutsi victims.

He was  also  alleged  to  have  established  and  supervised  at  least three roadblocks  in  the vicinity of Christ-Roi, which were mounted to intercept
and eliminate Tutsis.

The  Chamber  did  not  find  a  sufficient  factual  and  legal  basis for concluding that Nsengimana was guilty of any of the crimes.

Nsengimana  was  arrested  in  Cameroon  in March 2002 and made his initial appearance  before  the  Tribunal  in April 2002. The trial commenced on 22 June  2007  and  concluded  on  17  September  2008.

Nineteen  Prosecution witnesses  and 24 Defence witnesses, including Nsengimana, testified during the proceedings. Oral arguments were held on 12 and 13 February 2009.

The  Prosecution  team  was led by Senior Trial Attorney Wallace Kapaya and included  Brian  Wallace.  Nsengimana  was  represented  by  Emmanuel Altit (France) and David Hooper (United Kingdom).

Ends

 

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