Prosecution Wants Stiffer Penalties for Convicted Pastor

The prosecutor in the appeal hearing of a pastor and his son convicted of genocide, Thursday, called on the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to mete out harsher punishment to the two.

Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, 79, the head of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church in western Rwanda, and his son, Dr. Gerald Ntakirutimana, 46, were February 19, 2003, found guilty of genocide and sentenced to 10 and 25 years in jail respectively.

The doctor was also convicted on an extra count of crimes against humanity – murder – for actively participating in the massacres of Tutsis in Kibuye (western Rwanda), while his father was found to have ferried killers in his car to attack Tutsi refugees.

“The two were found by the trial chamber to have acted as co-perpetrators of the genocide and should therefore be found guilty of such,” said Mathias Marcussen, one of the three members of the prosecution team who argued in favour of a stiffer sentence.

Marcussen asked the Tribunal to overturn the original trial chamber’s decision, which absolved the accused of two counts of crimes against humanity – extermination and other inhumane acts.

He pointed out that the trial chamber had made a judicial error in not convicting the two of extermination in spite of the large number of victims in Bisesero hills and Mugonero.

The prosecution also dismissed the appellant??s defence of alibi as, mainly uncorroborated. Each of the accused had been charged with seven counts.

Pastor Ntakirutimana is represented by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, while Gerald Ntakirutimana’s defence is made up of David Jacobs and David Paccioco from Canada.

The trial opened in September 2001 and closed in August 2002.

The Appeals chamber is made up of Judge Theodor Meron from the USA (presiding), Judge Florence Mumba (Zambia), Judge Mehmet Guney (Turkey), Judge Wolfgang Schomburg (Germany) and Judge Ines Monica Weinberg de Roca from Argentina.


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Hirondelle News Agency, Switzerland
July 8, 2004
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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday July 9, 2004.
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