International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: Chronology

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13 December 2005: In the Simba case, the Trial Chamber finds Aloys Simba, a retired lieutenant colonel and former member of parliament, guilty of genocide and the crime against humanity of extermination based on his participation in the massacre of Tutsi civilians at the Murambi Technical School and at the Kaduha Parish in Gikongoro prefecture. He is sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.

7 December 2005: In the Bisengimana case, Trial Chamber II accepts the guilty plea of Paul Bisengimana, former Bourgmestre of Gikoro commune, to charges of aiding and abetting the crimes against humanity of murder and extermination. The Prosecutor withdrew the three remaining counts of genocide, complicity in genocide and rape as a crime against humanity in conformity with the plea agreement. Bisengimana has not yet been sentenced.

5 December 2005: In the Muvunyi case, the defense begins its case. Colonel Muvunyi, former Commander of the Non-Commissioned Officers Military Academy (ESO) in Butare is charged with five counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecution rested its case on July 20, 2005.

17 November 2005: In the Bisengimana case, the Trial Chamber rejects the plea agreement between Paul Bisengimana and the prosecutor because the prosecutor has not withdrawn the remaining charges in the indictment, creating a discrepancy between the indictment and the unequivocal plea entered by the accused.

17 November 2005: In the Military I case, testimony of the Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the alleged mastermind behind the 1994 genocide, comes to an end. In his 17-day testimony, Bagosora denied that genocide had occurred but said that "[m]ost reasonable people concur that there were excessive massacres."

14 November 2005: In the Kalimanzira case, Callixte Kalimanzira pleads not guilty to charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, and direct and public incitement to commit genocide. He is accused of supervising and training the Interahamwe, distributing weapons used in a massacre on Kabuye Hill in Ndora Commune, and inciting Hutus to erect roadblocks as well as supervising the operation of roadblocks at which many Tutsis were massacred.

8 November 2005: Callixte Kalimanzira surrenders to Tanzanian authorities in Arusha. Kalimanzira was the acting minister of interior of Rwanda in April and May 1994. He is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, and with direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

31 October 2005: In the Seromba case, the defense begins its case. Father Athanase Seromba is accused of ordering a Nyange church to be destroyed by bulldozer, killing 2,000 Tutsi who had sought refuge inside.

19 October 2005: In the Cyangugu case, Emmanuel Bagambiki renews his request to reside in a host country while he awaits the judgment of the Appeals Chamber. Bagambiki was acquitted on February 25, 2004 and since that time has been harbored in a safe house in Arusha. The tribunal says that it has been unable to find a country willing to host him. The prosecution’s appeal from the Trial Chamber judgment is scheduled to be heard on February 6, 2006.

12 October 2005: In the Military I case, trial resumes after a two-month adjournment.

4 October 2005: Rwanda approves an agreement with the United Nations on the transfer to its prisons of persons sentenced by the ICTR. Individuals convicted by the ICTR currently serve their sentences in Mali, Italy, Swaziland, Benin, Sweden, and France.

3 October 2005: In the Zigiranyirazo case, the trial of Protais Zigiranyirazo, the brother-in-law of the late President of Rwanda, Juvénal Habyarimana, begins. He has pled not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, and crimes against humanity (murder, extermination). Among other charges, the indictment alleges that Zigiranyirazo played a fundamental role in the creation of the Interahamwe and led a convoy of armed presidential guard soldiers, gendarmes, and Interahamwe who attacked and killed approximately 1,000 Tutsis who had sought refuge Gaseke Commune (Gisenyi prefecture, western Rwanda). Zigiranyirazo was arrested on July 26, 2001 in Belgium and transferred to the Arusha, Tanzania detention facility on October 3, 2001.

30 September 2005: In the Serugendo case, the defendant pleads not guilty to all charges. Joseph Serugendo, a former member of Comite d’Initiative and former member of the National Commmittee of the Interahamwe militia, is charged with five counts including conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity (persecution). Serugendo was a leading member of Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM), which in the Media case was found to have incited listeners to ethnic hatred during the 1994 genocide.

29 September 2005: In the Mpambara case, the prosecution closes its case. Jean Mpambara was a former bourgmestre of Rukara commune in Kibungo prefecture. He is charged with three counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. He has plead not guilty to those crimes.

28 September 2005: In the Serugendo case, an order to unseal the indictment is issued.

26 September 2005: In a report to the United Nations Security Council, the ICTR says that it is “on course” to finish the trials of 65-70 people by 2008, the completion date set by the Security Council. So far, 22 people have been convicted and 3 have been acquitted. There are 25 additional people on trial, including one former prime minister, 11 former government ministers, and many other high ranking officials. At this point, a total of 71 people have been arrested in connection with genocide charges. The ICTR says that it has been able to speed up the 25 cases it has on the dockets to complete them in the agreed upon timeframe because of the addition of 4 more ad litem judges (bringing the total to 9) and the building of another court chamber.

23 September 2005: Joseph Serugendo is transferred from Gabon to the Detention Facility of the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.

23 September 2005: Stephen Rapp, head of prosecutions at the ICTR, announces that the court has issued indictments for all suspects it so far plans to charge for their roles in the 1994 genocide. The ICTR is still pursuing 13 other suspects who are still at large.

19 September 2005: In the Karemera et al. case, the trial of Edouard Karemera, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and Joseph Nzirorea begins. The three former Rwandan cabinet ministers pled not guilty to seven counts, including conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, rape and extermination as crimes against humanity, and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions. Ngirumpatse is the former president of the MRND [National Republican Movement for Democracy] and former director general for foreign affairs; Karemera is the former vice-president of the MRND and the former interior minister; Nzirorera is the former NMRD national secretary and the former industry, mines, and handicraft minister. This is a new trial for the three former leaders after the annulment in 2004 of their first trial, in which they were tried with the former minister for primary and secondary education, Andre Rwamakuba, who is now being tried alone.

19 September 2005: In the Mpambara case, the prosecution and defense present opening statements. Jean Mpambara, former mayor of Rukara commune, is accused of telling thousands of Tutsis to take refugee in a parish and then ordering their killing.

19 September 2005: In the Kamuhanda case, the Appeals Chamber dismisses all but one of the 15 grounds of appeal, vacating the Trial Chamber’s finding that Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda of instigated and aided and abetted genocide and the crime against humanity of extermination. However, the Appeals Chamber affirms his conviction for ordering genocide and the crime against humanity of extermination, and confirms his two concurrent life sentences. Kamuhanda served as minister of higher education and scientific research during the genocide.

19 September 2005: Joseph Serugendo is arrested in Gabon at the request of the ICTR. The accused is a former member of the Comité d’Initiative, the steering committee of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines, (RTLM) and a former member of the National Committee of the Interahamwe militia. He was also Technical Chief of Radio Rwanda and RTLM.

13 September 2005: ICTR Registrar Adama Dieng fires the Tribunal’s chief of external relations, Roland Amoussouga, for allegedly leaking the Tribunal’s internal confidential information to favor a French job applicant. Amoussouga has previously been accused by the Rwandan government of revealing the identities of prosecution witnesses.

19 August 2005: The Tribunal announces seven new indictments including that of Michel Bagaragaza, who surrendered to the Tribunal on 16 August. The identities of the other six indictees are not revealed.

18 August 2005: Michel Bagaragaza is transferred from the ICTR detention facility in Arusha to The Hague for temporary detention due to concerns for his security. Bagaragaza made such a transfer a condition of his voluntary surrender.

16 August 2005: Michel Bagaragaza surrenders to the Tribunal. He also makes his initial appearance before the Tribunal and pleads not guilty to genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide. Bagaragaza, a former head of Rwanda's tea industry, allegedly ordered, instigated and aided and abetted subordinate tea factory employees and others to kill Tutsis in the Gisenyi prefecture and to provide the Interahamwe with money, weapons and other supplies.

1-14 August 2005: The Tribunal is in recess.

12 July 2005: Loretta Lynch is appointed Special Counsel to the Prosecutor. She will conduct investigations that the Appeals Chamber has directed the Prosecutor to conduct regarding cases of suspected witness tampering, perjury and contempt of court.

8 July 2005: In the Simba case, the prosecution and defence present their closing arguments.

1 June 2005: An assistant trial attorney in the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), Bongani Dyani of South Africa, resigns. The OTP recently discovered that he had been charged with attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances in 2001 and had had his authority to prosecute revoked.

23 May 2005: In the Kajelijeli case, the Appeals Chamber reduces sentence of Juvenal Kajelijeli, former bourgmestre of Mukingo, from life imprisonment to 45 years. It overturns his convictions for genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination) as far as they were based on a finding of Kajelijeli's superior responsibility, endorsing the ICTY Appeals Chamber's view that "concurrent convictions for both individual and superior responsibility in relation to the same conduct on the same facts constitutes legal error…." Moreover, it finds that his rights were violated during his arrest and pre-trial detention. Kajelijeli's conviction for direct and public incitement to commit genocide is upheld.

21 May 2005: Judge Erik Mose of Norway, the Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber I, is re-elected President of the ICTR for a second two-year term. Judge Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar is elected Vice President, succeeding Judge Andresia Vaz of Senegal.

20 May 2005: In the Semanza case, the Appeals Chamber increases the Laurent Semanza's sentence from 25 to 35 years imprisonment. The Chamber reverses his acquittal for complicity in genocide and aiding and abetting extermination as a crime against humanity with respect to events at Musha church, and instead orders convictions for genocide and ordering extermination as a crime against humanity. It also reverses his acquittals for serious violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II. The Chamber affirms his convictions for complicity in genocide and aiding and abetting extermination as a crime against humanity with respect to events at Mwulire hill, as well as for the crimes against humanity of rape, torture, and murder.

10 May 2005: In the Seromba case, trial is postponed indefinitely because the accused, Athananse Seromba, is refusing to be represented by his attorney.

9 May 2005: American lawyer Stephen Rapp is appointed chief of prosecutions. Rapp was a prosecutor in the Media trial before the ICTR, which ended in 2003.

4 May 2005: In the Zigiranyirazo case, Protais Zigiranyirazo pleads not guilty to all charges. The brother-in-law of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, Zigiranyirazo is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination, murder).

28 April 2005: In the Muhimana case, the Mikaeli Muhimana is convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity (rape, murder) and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Court dismisses the charge of complicity in genocide.

12 April 2005: For the first time, a Rwandan Gacaca court summons a genocide suspect at the ICTR to testify before the community genocide court. The Rwandan Minister of Justice says that the government will formally request the Tribunal to compel the suspect to appear.

11 April 2005: In the Military I case, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, a former commander of Kanombe Paramilitary battalion based in Kigali, begins his defense.

7 April 2005: In Military II case, trial is adjourned until May 9.

6 April 2005: In the Barayagwiza case, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza requests additional time to prepare his brief for the Appeals Chamber. Barayagwiza boycotted the proceedings before the Trial Chamber, claiming that the judges were biased.

30 March 2005: Ignace Bagilishema, the first person to be acquitted by the Tribunal and the former Mayor of Mabanza, demands €200,000 in damages for wrongful detention. Bagilishema was detained for more than two years before being acquitted by the Trial Chamber on June 7, 2001. The Appeals Chamber confirmed the acquittal on July 3, 2002.

23 March 2005: In the Rwamakuba case, the defendant continues to boycott his trial, despite the Trial Chamber's granting of his motion to separate his case from the other defendants in the Karemera et al. case.

23 March 2005: In the Karemera et al. case, Mathieu Ngirumpatse's attorney of the last six years resigns on the eve of the Tribunal setting a re-start date for the trial, citing a lack of cooperation as the reason for his resignation. The prosecution believes that Ngirumpaste, former president of the MRND, and his co-accused had controlling authority over the Interahamwe militia during the genocide.

22 March 2005: In the Muvunyi case, the trial of Tharcisse Muvunyi is adjourned until May 16 due to the late disclosure of evidence by the prosecution. Muvunyi, the former commandant of the non-commissioned officers' school (ESO) in Butare, is accused of ordering soldiers under his command to commit genocide and individually of crimes against humanity (rape, other inhumane acts).

21 March 2005: In the Karemera et al. case, all three defendants enter not guilty pleas. The accused are Edouard Karemera, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and Joseph Nzirorera, all former government officials and officers in the Mouvement Revolutionnaire National pour le Developpement (MRND). They are charged with seven counts, including conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide, genocide or in the alternative complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity (rape, extermination), and serious violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II (killing and causing violence to health and physical or mental well-being).

14 March 2005: In the Rutaganira case, Vincent Rutaganira is sentenced to six years in prison after being found guilty of one count of crimes against humanity (extermination). Rutaganira pled guilty to the count on 7 December 2004.

3 March 2005: In the Nzabirinda case, ICTR President Erik Møse agrees to withdraw the Prosecutor's request to move Joseph Nzabirinda's trial to Rwanda. Nzabirinda is charged with four counts of genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and rape).

1 March 2005: The ICTR's trial capacity increases with the opening of a fourth courtroom.

1 March 2005: In the Government case, the trial resumes.

23 February 2005: The ICTR transfers 15 case files to Rwandan authorities for the first time since the Tribunal's inception. Suspects in these cases have not yet been indicted by the ICTR. Decisions regarding the transfer of cases for indicted suspects or suspects in the Tribunal's custody must be made by judges at the request of the prosecutor.

14 February 2005: In the Karema et al. case, the ICTR grants the prosecutor's motion for a separate trial for André Rwamakuba, a former minister of primary and secondary education and a former member of the Mouvement Démocratique Républicain (MDR).

2 February 2005: ICTR spokesperson Roland Amoussouga announces that an agreement with the Rwandan Government, making possible the transfer of convicted prisoners to Rwanda to serve their sentences, is in its final stages. The agreement, if approved by the UN Department of Legal Affairs, would make Rwanda the seventh country available for the enforcement of ICTR sentences.

31 January 2005: Rwanda and the ICTR set up a joint committee to resolve issues arising from the October 2004 murder of Jean-Bosco Nyemazi, a witness in the genocide trial of former military officer Aloys Simba. Relations between the Rwandan government and the ICTR were strained when Rwandan police officials were not allowed to interview two ICTR officials who had visited Nyemazi on the day he was killed.

31 January 2005: In the Butare case, the defense begins.

10 January 2005: In the Military II case, the trial resumes, having been in recess since October 11, 2004.