Prosecution seeks life sentence for Genocide convict Bandora

Genocide suspect Charles Bandora.

Prosecution implored Supreme Court to hand life sentence to Charles Bandora, a Genocide convict who appealed against the 30 years imprisonment handed to him by High Court.

Bandora was the vice chairperson of the genocidal political outfit MRND in Commune Ngenda and a leader of the business community in the current Bugesera District.

The 65-year-old was in 2013 extradited from Norway on an international arrest warrant over Genocide crimes.

He was on first instance found guilty for Genocide committed in the former Ngenda Commune by the High Court’s Specialised Chamber for International Crimes, handing him a thirty year sentence.

The first sentence was rendered in May 2015.

During his final submission of the appeal case in Supreme Court on Monday, Bandora pointed out that the lower court had determined that he was cooperative during the trial and this, he said, would earn him a sentence lesser than the 30 years he got.

Prosecution submitted that Bandora was a prominent political and business figure during the time of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and so deserves life sentence instead of the 30 years he previously appealed against.

“All the position he held in political and business circles made him socially influential in his area,” prosecution said.

Prosecution also made reference to cases in the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in which Genocide suspects were convicted according to their positions in society.

Bandora’s lawyers asked court not to consider prosecution’s references, saying that “they were drawn from an international jurisprudence which is not necessarily the same as local courts”.

Prosecution downed the appreciation of Bandora’s conduct in the court, reasoning that he has not pleaded guilty to any of the crimes he stands accused nor has he ever atoned for them.

“There is no good conduct because he doesn’t accept his role in the extermination of Tutsis in Ngenda; he doesn’t accept that he oversaw the distribution of machetes to kill, neither does he accept having transported killers to from place to place to kill,” prosecutors said.

Bandora himself recited some figures who were convicted of genocide from his home area who never mentioned him as having collaborated to kill people.

Bandora’s lawyers Bruce Bikotwa and Jeanne d’Arc Umutesi discounted testimonies by two witnesses who mentioned having seen Bandora at scenes of meetings and mass killings during the Genocide against the Tutsi.

“Two witnesses say they saw Bandora at Gatenga but they contradict on the time, the car he drove and the alleged number of soldiers he carried,” lawyer Bikotwa told court.

Prosecution asked court to dwell on the basic substances of the witness instead of small details that might defer in one way or another because of the time that has elapsed.

The verdict will be read on 22 March 2019.

Over 9000 Tutsis are buried at Ruhuha Genocide memorial site where bodies of genocide victims from Commune Ngenda are buried.