The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), will, today, deliver its first judgment of the year, in the case of notorious former Bourgmestre (Mayor) of Murambi, Jean-Baptiste Gatete.
Gatete stands accused of six counts including Genocide, complicity in Genocide, conspiracy to commit Genocide, extermination as a crimes against humanity, murder and rape.
“The tribunal will deliver the judgment today in the case of Jean-Baptiste Gatete,” ICTR Spokesperson Roland Amoussouga said in an interview with The New Times yesterday.
Prosecution in November last year called for the conviction of Gatete, and imposition of a life sentence in what it argued was strong evidence presented against him.
"The only sentence he deserves is life imprisonment for each offence he may be convicted of. There is no lesser sentence that can be given," said trial attorney Drew White during his closing arguments.
Life sentence is the heaviest sentence the UN tribunal can pronounce.
During the trial, prosecution called 22 witnesses while 27 witnesses testified for the Defence. The accused decided not to testify in his defence.
A former member of the National Congress of former ruling party, MRND, Gatete was arrested on September 11, 2002, by the Congolese authorities acting on a warrant of arrest issued by the tribunal on December 19, 2000.
He was transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha on 13 September the same year and pleaded not guilty to ten previous counts contained in the first indictment before its amendment.
Gatete, who also a long-serving Bourgmestre of Murambi, in the Eastern Province, 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.