The Court of Appeal (CoA) in Kigali Thursday heard the appeal of Agnes Ntamabyariro against the life sentence handed to her by the High Court in 2015.
The 82-year old woman was a former Justice Minister before and during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
She is represented by Gatera Gashabana who submitted their appeal before three judges led by Dr Aimé Muyoboke Kalimunda, the president of CoA.
During her submission, Ntamabyariro challenged the manner in which she was arrested and tried, saying that all the procedures were against the law and violated human rights.
Ntamabyariro had been convicted twice for Genocide crimes and sentenced by Nyarugenge Intermediate Court to life sentence in 2009 which was confirmed by the High Court in 2015.
Ntamabyariro said that she was arrested from Zambia, claiming that she was a refugee who was not supposed to be arrested by Rwanda.
She asked the court to nullify the whole sentence on grounds of “wrong procedures of arrest and trial”.
Prosecution asked the jury to disregard Ntamabyariro’s appeal, explaining that she clandestinely came back to Rwanda thinking that she would never be caught”.
Her lawyer Gashabana also submitted that the convict was detained a long time before trial from 1997 to 1999, a thing they were basing on to establish reason for setting Ntamabyariro free.
“My client was detained for long without being tried and when she was tried it took long for her case to have a ruling” Gashabana said.
Prosecution submitted that in the late 1990s after Genocide, there were very many important figures in custody who had to be interrogated by the Prosecutor General.
“A provisional law for the detained suspects was passed, stating that all Genocide suspects then had to have appeared before the prosecution by the end of December 1999,” explained the prosecution, pointing out that Ntamabyariro was received by the prosecution on December 10,1999.
Prosecution added that Ntamabyariro was dishonest by claiming that her trial took long because she knew that there was a big workload for the available judges.
“We all know that even in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, there was not a case that was tried within a period of less than ten years”.
Ntamabyariro was found guilty of orchestrating the killing of thousands of Tutsis at Kabgayi Catholic Parish in southern Province between April and June 1994.
Since the appellant had not loaded their submission in judiciary’s database, the court ordered them to do so by 18 April 2019
The prosecution will file their brief by 25 April 2019 from where the court will schedule when to hear the case.