Trial Chamber III of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today sentenced Jean-Baptiste Gatete, former Mayor of Murambi Commune in Byumba prefecture and, in April 1994, Director in the Rwandan Ministry of Women and Family Affairs, to life imprisonment.
The Trial Chamber composed of Judges Khalida Khan (Pakistan), presiding, Lee Gacuiga Muthoga (Kenya) and Aydin Akay (Turkey) found Gatete guilty of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The accused had been charged with six counts: genocide, or, in the alternative, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and the crimes against humanity of extermination, murder and rape.
The Chamber found that, pursuant to Gatete’s orders, Interahamwe killed Tutsi civilians in Rwankuba sector. Moreover, soldiers, policemen and Hutu civilians who participated in the killings were also recruited on Gatete’s instructions. It also concluded that Gatete issued express orders to kill Tutsi refugees in a coordinated attack at Kiziguro parish, resulting in the killings of hundreds, if not thousands, of Tutsi civilians by soldiers, Interahamwe and civilian militia.
Further, the Trial Chamber found that at Mukarange parish, Gatete participated in a second coordinated attack where hundreds, if not thousands, of Tutsi civilians were killed. He also delivered weapons that were ultimately a decisive factor in the success of the assault.
The accused was arrested on 11 September 2002 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On 20 September 2002, during his initial appearance, he pleaded not guilty to the previous ten counts contained in the first indictment. His trial began on 20 October 2009 and closed on 29 March 2010. The Prosecution called 22 witnesses, while the Defence presented 27. Closing Arguments were heard on 8 November 2010.
The Prosecution team was led by Senior Trial Attorneys Richard Karegyesa (Uganda), and Drew White (Canada) and included Adelaide Whest, Didace Nyirinkwaya and Yasmine Chubin. Gatete was represented by Maître Marie-Pierre Poulain (France) and Kate Gibson (Australia).