The closing arguments in the case of Gaspard Kanyarukiga were presented 24 May 2010, before Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The Prosecution offered a two-hour closing statement and a one-hour rebuttal, as did the Defense. In its first speech, the Prosecution requested that the Defendant be sentenced to life imprisonment, while the Defense pleaded for his acquittal.
Kanyarukiga, a former businessman, is charged with three counts: genocide, complicity in genocide (as an alternative to genocide), and extermination as a crime against humanity, all in connection with an incident in Nyange wherein two thousand Tutsi refugees were killed when the church in which they were sheltering was bulldozed on 16 April 1994.
Defense Counsel initially requested that the entirety of the closing arguments be given in a closed session due to the difficulty of making effective arguments while preserving witness confidentiality. After this request was denied, all arguments, with the exception of one element of the Prosecution’s rebuttal, were held in open session. The Prosecution focused on the testimony of its ten witnesses that placed Kanyarukiga in meetings with other perpetrators (Gregoire Ndahimana, Fulgence Kayishema, and others) and at the scene of the crime between 8 and 16 of April 1994.
In support of Kanyarukiga’s plea of ‘not guilty,’ the Defense presented an alibi supported by 23 witnesses that Kanyarukiga was travelling to Ndera to aid his family during the period in question. The Defense also raised numerous procedural issues, claiming that the case was prejudiced.
Mr. David Jacobs (Canada) spoke for the Defense, and Ms. Holo Makwaia (Tanzania) represented the Prosecution. Kanyarukiga was arrested in South Africa on 16 July 2004. Kanyarukiga declined to make any final statements in his case, beyond thanking the judges. The case is now closed and a judgement is expected to be delivered in July 2010.