Nairobi — The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday sentenced Samuel Imanishimwe, former military commander in the Rwandan armed forces, to 27 years in prison after convicting him on six counts of "genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II", the court reported from Arusha, Tanzania.
However, it acquitted Andre Ntagerura, former minister of transport and communications, and Emmanuel Bagambiki, former prefect of Cyangugu, of similar charges.
The court found that Imanishimwe, as the commander of Karambo military camp, authorised soldiers to arrest, detain, mistreat, and execute civilians. He was also found criminally responsible for extermination and for failing to prevent or to punish his subordinate soldiers' participation in the massacre at the Gashirabowba football field on 12 April 1994.
The court acquitted Ntagerura, noting that the prosecutor did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the allegations in the indictment asserting Ntagerura's criminal responsibility. It also ruled that there was no credible evidence that Ntagerura expressed public support for the killings or that he acted as supervisor in Cyangugu prefecture in 1994.
As for Bagambiki, the court found that the prosecutor failed to prove the allegations supporting the crime of genocide against Bagambiki or to demonstrate that he should be held criminally responsible for the crimes based on his role as a principal perpetrator, an accomplice, or a superior. The court also ruled that Bagambiki could not be held responsible for the acts of soldiers, gendarmes, or others who killed Tutsis in Kagano Commune because the prosecutor failed to establish the existence of a superior-subordinate relationship between the accused and the killers. Furthermore, the court acquitted Bagambiki of charges that he participated in the training of Interahamwe and that he distributed weapons to them.
The ICTR recalled that Imanishimwe was arrested in Kenya on 11 August 1997 and transferred to the Tribunal's detention facility in Arusha on the same day. Ntagerura was arrested in Cameroon on 27 March 1996 and transferred to Arusha on 23 January 1997. Bagambiki was arrested in Togo on 5 June 1998 and transferred to Arusha on 10 July 1998.
The court said that this decision in the "Cyangugu Case" brought to 21 the number of accused whose trials had been completed since establishment of the Tribunal in 1994. The ICTR has found 18 accused guilty and has acquitted three.