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Grégoire Ndahimana Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

Trial Chamber III of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today found Grégoire Ndahimana, former Mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye Prefecture, guilty of genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. It then sentenced him to fifteen years in prison.

The Chamber composed of Judges Florence Rita Arrey, presiding, Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov and Aydin Sefa Akay found Ndahimana guilty of genocide and extermination by aiding and abetting as well as by virtue of his command responsibility over communal police in Kivumu. Judge Arrey agreed with the majority that the accused was guilty on these counts but dissented on the appropriate mode of liability. The Trial Chamber unanimously dismissed the other count of complicity in genocide.

The Trial Chamber having considered the gravity of each of the crimes, for which Ndahimana was convicted, sentenced the accused to a single sentence of 15 years imprisonment, with Judge Arrey dissenting. It also ordered that the sentence supersedes any other sentence imposed on the accused by any other state or institution. Ndahimana will receive credit for time served since his arrest on 11 August 2009, pursuant to Rule 101 (C) of the Rules.

Among others, the Trial Chamber found that Ndahimana’s position as the leading political authority in Kivumu Commune to be an aggravating factor. However, the majority of the Trial Chamber, Judge Arrey dissenting, found that this factor was mitigated by its belief that the accused did not enjoy the same degree of de factoauthority as that exercised by Bourgmestres who were members of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND).

The majority also found as mitigating factor the fact that the scale of the operation that led to the destruction of Nyange church, and the killings of thousands of Tutsi civilians, reflected broad coordination among various groups, local and religious authorities as well as civilian assailants. Though this did in no way exonerate the accused, it did, however, suggest that his participation through aiding and abetting may have resulted from duress rather than from extremism or ethnic hatred.

Ndahimana was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and was transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha on 26 August 2009. He was born in 1952 in Kivumu Commune. He was defended by Bharat Chadha (Tanzania) assisted by Wilfred Nderitu (Kenya). The Prosecution was led by Ms. Holo Makwaia. 

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