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Case against Karera Closed

On 23 and 24 November 2006, the Prosecution and Defence in the case of François Karera, the former Prefect of Kigali-Rural, presented their final submissions before the Tribunal.

Karera, former Prefect of Kigali-Rural, faces four counts charging him with genocide, complicity in genocide, extermination and murder as crimes against humanity. The indictment alleges that Karera ordered and instigated the killing of Tutsi civilians in Rushashi commune, Nyamirambo sector, and at Ntarama Church. He is specifically accused of ordering the massacre of hundreds of Tutsi civilians who sought refuge in a church at Ntarama, south of Kigali, in April 1994. Karera allegedly led a convoy of vehicles which brought Interahamwe militia and other armed men to the church where he joined them in attacking the refugees.

The Prosecution called for the conviction of the Accused and the imposition of a life imprisonment sentence. It argued that evidence presented in court proved that he committed genocide and crimes against humanity, through instructing or encouraging the killing of Tutsi in April and May 1994 in Rushashi commune, Nyamirambo sector, and Ntarama Church, all within the Kigali area. The Prosecution further submitted that the evidence shows that the Accused was responsible as a superior for crimes committed by his subordinates.

The Defence called for Karera’s acquittal, arguing that his implication in the crimes of which he is accused was not proven by the Prosecutor. According to the evidence, the Accused was absent from most of the alleged crime scenes. The Defence also submitted that the witnesses called by the Prosecution were unreliable, and that the indictment failed to include certain allegations which were later included in the Prosecution’s case.

The trial commenced on 9 January 2006 before Trial Chamber I composed of judges Erik Møse (Norway), presiding, Sergei Alekseevich Egorov (Russian Federation) and Florence Rita Arrey (Cameroon). Karera is represented by Carmelle Marchessault and Steven Kelliher, both from Canada. The Prosecution team includes Charles Adeogun-Phillips, Adesola Adeboyejo, Peter Tafah, Memory Maposa and Florida Kabasinga.

On 4 May 2006, the Prosecution closed its case. The Defence closed its case on 23 August 2006. The Chamber heard 18 Prosecution witnesses and 25 Defence witnesses, including the Accused, over 33 trial days, 15 of which were half days. The Chamber conducted a visit to the alleged crime sites in Rwanda, between 1 and 3 November 2006.

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