Prosecutors seek life sentence for army chief

Prosecutors at the United Nations genocide tribunal for Rwanda on Thursday sought a life sentence for a former military academy chief accused of genocide in the country’s 1994 mass slaughter.

They said Tharcisse Muvunyi deserved the maximum sentence that can be handed down by the International Criminal Court for Rwanda (ICTR) for killing Tutsis in several localities in the southern town of Butare and for failing to stop rampant raping.

Prosecutor Adeboyejo Adesola asked “that the accused be convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for the remainder of his life”.

“He went from commune to commune inciting people to kill Tutsis,” Adesola added in his closing remarks.

Muvunyi, who was arrested in Britain in 2000, pleaded not guilty to genocide, complicity and incitement to commit genocide, rape and inhuman and degrading treatment of people when his case opened early last year.

Although the former head of the School of Military Officers (ESO) is not directly facing charges of rape, he is accused of abetting the crime.

“Tutsi girls were removed from Butare Hospital and were raped by ESO soldiers,” Adesola said. “He could hear the cries.”

The defence is expected to present its closing remarks before the judges give their verdict.

The ICTR, based in the north Tanzanian city of Arusha, was set up by the United Nations to try key suspects in the genocide.

The tribunal so far has convicted 25 people and acquitted three others since it began operations in 1997. - Sapa-AFP

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