Court reduces sentence for Genocide convict Kabilima

The High Court in Kigali on Wednesday commuted to 25 years the life sentence that had been handed to Dr Jean Damascène Kabilima after he was found guilty of participating in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Kabilima had appealed against a life sentence given to him by the Nyamagabe Intermediate Court last summer.

Prosecution pins him on genocide crimes, homicide, inciting killings of Tutsi children who had survived a massacre in Rusenge Sector of Nyaruguru District, inciting genocide and other crimes against humanity.

Reading out the verdict, the presiding judge said it was necessary to relook into the case, which led to the invalidation of all testimonies by defence witnesses owing to their incoherence. The convict was absolved of the crime of profiling victims of the Genocide by drawing lists, with the judge saying that prosecution did not adduce sufficient evidence to pin him on the crime.

Court decided to convict him on the crime of homicide, which saw his sentence reduced to 25 years in jail. The suspect was not present during the pronouncement of the verdict.

His lawyer, Pascal Munyemana, who was present in court, together with the convict’s family, told The New Times that they will have to go through the court’s decision and decide whether they will have to appeal again to the Supreme Court. 

Kabilima was arrested in 2011 when he was entering Rwanda to attend the annual national dialogue. He was coming from Nairobi, Kenya. 

The migration officers at the Kigali International Airport informed him that a Gacaca Court in Bunge, Nyaruguru had sentenced him to 30 years back in 2009 for his role in the Genocide.

He later asked that his case be retried since the first proceedings had been held in his absence.