• Prosecution satisfied with verdict
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has sentenced former Cabinet Director in the Rwandan Interior Ministry, Callixte Kalimanzira to 30 years imprisonment for Genocide crimes.
He however received a reduced sentence for the time he has served in the UN detention facility ever since he was arrested in November 2005.
Delivering the judgment in a fully packed courtroom, the presiding judge Dennis Byron ruled that the former civil servant was found guilty of genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide
“Considering all the relevant circumstances, the chamber sentences Callixte Kalimanzira to thirty years imprisonment,” the judge read, as the accused looking calm listened.
Byron added that the Kalimanzira went to Kabuye hill, Southern Province with soldiers and policemen, where thousands of Tutsi refugees were attacked and killed, resulting in an enormous human tragedy.
The chamber also noted that Kalimanzira’s role in luring Tutsis to Kabuye hill and his subsequent assistance in providing armed reinforcements substantially contributed to the overall attack.
“Most significantly, by encouraging Tutsi refugees to gather at Kabuye hill where he knew they would be killed in their thousands, he abused the public’s trust that he, like other officials, would protect them,” Byron said.
The judge said emphatically that there was guilty beyond reasonable doubt that the accused aided and abetted Genocide at Kabuye hill.
Kalimanzira was also found guilty of direct and public incitement to commit genocide on several occasions that included the Kajyanama roadblock and the Nyabisagara football fields on different dates in April 1994.
The prosecution had in its arguments requested that the court gives a life sentence to the former Cabinet Director, saying that he like many other convicted former politicians, deserved to be jailed for life.
However, the tribunal ruled that a life sentence is generally reserved for those who planned or ordered atrocities and those who participate in the crimes with particular zeal or sadism.
“Offenders receiving the most severe sentences also tend to be senior authorities,” Byron said.
Later in an interview with The New Times shortly after the ruling, ICTR Prosecutor Justice Hassan Bubacar Jallow expressed satisfaction with the verdict especially that it rightly considered the Kabuye hill killings.
“He was found to have knowingly followed up the Kabuye hill gathering with armed reinforcements to ensure that innocent Tutsis were killed. He was present as this was happening. So, I’m satisfied with the verdict delivered,” Jallow said.
He however said that his office would study the thirty years imprisonment sentence rendered to Kalimanzira, and that they would in the future decide whether to proceed with an appeal or not.
The Prosecution closed its case in June 2008, after having called 24 witnesses.
The Defence case commenced in November 2008 where 42 witnesses including the accused were called.
Born in 1953, in Muganza Commune, Southern Province, Kalimanzira trained as an agronomist and held several top positions in the former Rwandan government.