ARUSHA - The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) yesterday requested the court to give a life sentence to former Cabinet Director in the Rwandan Interior Ministry, Callixte Kalimanzira.
Kalimanzira is charged with Genocide, Complicity in Genocide and Direct and Public Incitement to Commit Genocide. He is largely accused for his alleged personal involvement and supervision of massacres in Butare, Southern Province during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
During the closing arguments, Prosecutor Ousman Jammeh described the evidence prosecution has against the accused as irrefutable, adding that Kalimanzira, like many other convicted former politicians, deserved to be jailed for life.
“The Prosecutor submits that Callixte Kalimanzira should be sentenced to imprisonment for the rest of his life for the crimes of which he is charged,” he said.
Kalimanzira is also alleged to have supported policies of the interim government which planned and supervised the Genocide that left over one million people dead within 100 days.
Prosecution of the Tanzania based UN Court that was established to try masterminds of the Genocide also accuses Kalimanzira of using his influence to incite the massacres of the Tutsi in his native region in the Southern Province.
Jammeh added that given the sentencing practice of the ICTR, a life sentence is the only punishment that would reflect the gravity of his direct and individual responsibility of killing the Tutsi in Butare and the country in general.
The life sentence is the heaviest punishment the 15-year old court can pass.
“He personally issued orders to set roadblocks; he instigated and armed Hutus to kill Tutsis whom he consistently referred to as their only enemy. The right to life of the Tutsi people was denied,” the Prosecutor added.
The prosecution added that there was no mitigating factor in the accused’s case but that there was instead an aggravating factor because Kalimanzira abused his position of authority in society yet he had a responsibility to promote peace and reconciliation.
Jammeh said that the accused didn’t show any remorse or admit guilt for his conduct and described his arrest as a purported claim that he voluntarily surrendered to the tribunal.
“There is irrefutable evidence before this Chamber that he was in fact trapped by the ICTR tracking team of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) in Nairobi Kenya which made his purported surrender a mere academic exercise,” Jammeh said.
The Prosecution listed individuals like Elias Niyitegeka, Juvenal Kajelijeli, Emmanuel Ndidabahizi, and Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, all former cabinet ministers, who are serving life sentences and said that Kalimanzira didn’t deserve anything less because he carried out similar heinous crimes in 1994.
Born in 1953 in Muganza Commune, Southern Province, Kalimanzira was trained as an agronomist and held several top positions in the former Rwandan government.