Trial Chamber I, composed of Judges Erik Møse (Norway), presiding, Sergei Alekseevich Egorov (Russian Federation) and Florence Rita Arrey (Cameroon) today acquitted Hormisdas Nsengimana of genocide as well as murder and extermination as crimes against humanity. It then ordered his immediate release from the UN Detention Facility in Arusha.
During the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Nsengimana was a priest and rector of Collège Christ-Roi,a prestigious Catholic secondary school in Nyanza sector, Butare prefecture.
Nsengimana was alleged to have been at the centre of a group of Hutu extremists that planned and carried out targeted attacks in Nyanza in 1994. Moreover, he purportedly participated directly and indirectly in killings. The Prosecution sought to establish his criminal responsibility for the deaths of several Tutsi priests, a judge, and many other Tutsi victims. He was also alleged to have established and supervised at least three roadblocks in the vicinity of Christ-Roi, which were mounted to intercept and eliminate Tutsis.
The Chamber did not find a sufficient factual and legal basis for concluding that Nsengimana was guilty of any of the crimes.
Nsengimana was arrested in Cameroon in March 2002 and made his initial appearance before the Tribunal in April 2002. The trial commenced on 22 June 2007 and concluded on 17 September 2008. Nineteen Prosecution witnesses and 24 Defence witnesses, including Nsengimana, testified during the proceedings. Oral arguments were held on 12 and 13 February 2009.
The Prosecution team was led by Senior Trial Attorney Wallace Kapaya and included Brian Wallace. Nsengimana was represented by Emmanuel Altit (France) and David Hooper (United Kingdom).