The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today convicted Emmanuel Ndindabahizi of genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and murder) and sentenced him to imprisonment for the remainder of his life. Ndindabahizi was a former Minister of Finance in the Interim Government of Rwanda from April to July 1994.
The judgment was delivered by Trial Chamber I composed of Judge Erik Møse (Norway), presiding, Judge Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan), and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda). Rejecting claims by the Defense that the Indictment was vague and inaccurate, the Chamber found Ndindabahizi guilty of participating in, encouraging, and assisting in the commission of criminal acts that occurred from April through June 1994, in Kibuye Prefecture. In particular, the Chamber found that Ndindabahizi had instigated, facilitated and assisted attacks against Tutsi refugees who had gathered in Gitwa Hill on two occasions.
According to the Trial Chamber, it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Accused explicitly urged the attackers to kill the Tutsi assembled at Gitwa Hill. He distributed machetes and grenades and transported armed attackers to the site. By his words and deeds, the Accused manifested an intent that the Tutsi on Gitwa Hill, who numbered in the thousands, should be attacked and killed. Further, the Accused was well aware that his remarks and actions were part of a wider context of ethnic violence, killing and massacres in Rwanda during this period. The Chamber found that the Accused intended to destroy, in whole or in part, the Tutsi ethnic group and convicted him for genocide.
The Trial Chamber found that by his words, the Accused was guilty of instigating genocide. By his acts of material assistance, including the distribution of weapons and the transportation of attackers, the Accused was guilty of aiding and abetting genocide.
The Chamber also found that the Accused was guilty of extermination as a crime against humanity on the basis of the factual findings in relation to Gitwa Hill. Furthermore, it found him guilty of genocide and murder because he encouraged those manning Gaseke roadblock to kill Tutsi. He also provided the persons at the roadblock with material assistance.
Emmanuel Ndindabahizi was born in 1950 in Gitesi commune, Kibuye prefecture in Western Rwanda. He was appointed Minister of Finance in the Interim Government on 9 April 1994 and held that post until after the Government’s flight into exile.
The first indictment issued on 5 July 2001 charged Ndindabahizi with five counts, namely genocide, complicity in genocide, and crimes against humanity (murder, extermination and rape). He was arrested on 7 July 2001 in Verviers, Belgium and transferred to the ICTR Detention Facility on 25 September 2001. He made his initial appearance before the Tribunal on 19 October 2001 and pleaded not guilty to all the counts. On 3 September 2003 the Indictment was amended charging him with genocide; extermination as a crime against humanity; and murder as a crime against humanity. He pleaded not guilty to these three counts.
The trial opened on 1 September 2003 and lasted for twenty-seven trial days during which the Chamber heard testimony from thirty-four witnesses. The Prosecution was conducted by Charles Philips Adeogun, Kapaya Wallace and Peter Tafah. Ndindabahizi was represented by Pascal Besnier (France) and Guillaume Marçais (France).
The present judgment brings the number of Accused whose trials have been completed to twenty-three. Trials involving nineteen Accused are under way.
The Prosecutor v Emmanuel Ndindabahizi
Case No. ICTR-2001-71-I
Emmanuel Ndindabahizi was born in 1950 in Gitesi commune, Kibuye prefecture in western Rwanda. He was Minister of Finance in the Interim Government from his swearing in as a minister on 9 April 1994 until the Interim Government’s collapse in mid-July 1994. He became a government minister after rising through the ranks of local and regional political administrations in Kibuye.
Ndindabahizi obtained a Bachelor degree in Economics and Social Sciences in 1974 and a licence in Management in 1976. In 1985 he became the head of the Internal Financing Section in the Ministry of Planning. In 1992, Ndindabahizi joined the Parti Social Démocratique (PSD), a moderate political party. He then became Chairman of the Party in Kibuye prefecture. In September 1992, he was appointed Directeur de Cabinet in the Ministry of Finance.
Indictment and Arrest
The indictment for Ndindabahizi was confirmed on 5 July 2001. Ndindabahizi was arrested on 7 July 2001 in Verviers, Belgium. He was transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania on 25 September 2001. His initial appearance at the Tribunal occurred on 19 October 2001. He pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him as contained in the indictment at the time. The final amended indictment of 1 September 2003 charged Ndindabahizi with three counts, one for genocide and two for crimes against humanity (extermination, murder). Ndindabahizi pleaded not guilty to these three charges.
Between 7 April and 14 July 1994 Ndindabahizi allegedly led a campaign of extermination against the civilian Tutsi population in Gitesi and Gishyita communes in Kibuye prefecture. He allegedly supervised, facilitated and directed rapes and attacks against persons identified as Tutsi. Ndindabahizi was in a position of significant national authority, which he allegedly used to further the killings of Tutsi civilians and moderate Hutus. He allegedly addressed crowds calling for the killing and rape of Tutsis, in some cases singling out individual Tutsis by name, leading to their deaths.
Ndindabahizi allegedly provided civilians, Interahamwe and soldiers with grenades, guns, machetes and clubs for the purpose of killing. Ndindabahizi allegedly led attacks by example; discharging a firearm at a group of refugees, throwing a grenade in the direction of refugees, and otherwise participating in attacks at Rwirambo, Gitwa, Karongi and Bisesero Hills in the Kibuye prefecture, resulting in numerous deaths. In May 1994 at the roadblocks along the Kibuye-Gitarama road Ndindabahizi allegedly distributed weapons, such as machetes, and encouraged the killing of Tutsis. At a roadblock on Nyabahanga Bridge, Ndindabahizi allegedly ordered the people to kill Tutsi women married to Hutu men, saying “If you have not killed Tutsi women married to the men, they will poison you, if these persons are not killed. Therefore, you have to kill them.”
The trial opened on 1 September 2003 before Trial Chamber I composed of Judge Erik Møse (Norway), presiding, Judge K. Rachid Khan (Pakistan), and Judge S. Balungi Bossa (Uganda). The Prosecution was conducted by Charles Philips Adeogun, Kapaya Wallace and Peter Tafah. Ndindabahizi was represented by Pascal Besnier (France) and Guillaume Marçais (France).
The Prosecution closed its case on 30 September 2003 after presenting 15 witnesses. The Defence closed its case on 28 November 2003 after presenting 19 witnesses, including Ndindabahizi. On March 2 2004 the proceedings were adjourned after 27 trial days.
On 15 July 2004, the Trial Chamber found Ndindabahizi guilty of genocide and two counts of crimes against humanity (extermination, murder). In a unanimous decision, the Chamber sentenced Ndindabahizi to imprisonment for the remainder of his life.