UN Rwanda tribunal hears closing arguments in case of alleged ‘angel of death’

UN Rwanda tribunal hears closing arguments in case of alleged ‘angel of death’

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The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today heard closing arguments in the genocide case against Laurent Semanza, called by prosecutors an “angel of death.”

In arguing its position, the prosecution said Mr. Semanza – a former Bourgmestre of Bicumbi commune – sponsored and orchestrated the killing and maiming of civilians at numerous sites, including two churches and a mosque.

The defence countered that the defendant should be acquitted. “It was impossible for him to be physically present at the various sites of the offences described in the indictment,” argued Counsel Charles Taku.

A total of 53 witnesses have been called to the stand since the case against Mr. Semanza began in October 2000. The accused, who was transferred to the court in 1997, faces 14 counts of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, crimes against humanity – murder, extermination, rape, persecution and torture – and violations of the Geneva Conventions.