Ildéphonse Nizeyimana Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today sentenced Ildéphonse Nizeyimana, a former captain at the Butare military academy called the École des Sous-Officiers, to life imprisonment. Nizeyimana was found guilty of genocide, extermination and murder as crimes against humanity and murder as a serious violation of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II.

The Chamber concluded that Nizeyimana was criminally liable for his role in an attack on Cyahinda Parish, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of primarily Tutsi refugees. He was also found responsible for the targeted killing of Rosalie Gicanda, Rwanda’s former Tutsi Queen, the murder of a former Butare deputy prosecutor, a sub-prefect for Butare and persons taken from each of their homes. The Chamber also concluded that Nizeyimana was criminally responsible for the killings of members of the Ruhutinyanya family and the killing of and serious bodily injury to select Tutsis at roadblocks in Butare town.

Nizeyimana was born on 5 October 1963 in Mutura commune, Gisenyi prefecture. He was arrested in the Republic of Uganda on 5 October 2009. Trial commenced on 17 January 2011 and closed on 22 September 2011. The Prosecution called 41 witnesses and the Defence 44. Closing arguments were submitted on 7 December 2011.

The case was heard by Trial Chamber III, composed of Judges Lee Gacuiga Muthoga (Kenya), presiding, Seon Ki Park (Republic of Korea) and Robert Fremr (Czech Republic). The Prosecution team was led by Drew White, and included Kirsten Gray and Yasmine Chubin. The Defence was represented by John Philpot and assisted by Cainnech Lussiaà-Berdou.

Nizeyimana’s judgement marks the completion by the Tribunal of work at trial level in respect of 85 of the 93 accused individuals. Only one judgement, that of Augustin Ngirabatware, which will be delivered before the end of 2012, is remaining. Three fugitive cases have been earmarked for trial by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals which begins its work on 1st July 2012. The remaining six fugitive cases have either been referred to or will be referred to National Jurisdictions.