TURINABO, Maximilien et al. (MICT-18-116)

Trial

On 24 August 2018, Judge Seon Ki Park confirmed an Indictment against Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, Marie Rose Fatuma, and Dick Prudence Munyeshuli, dated 5 June 2018 and submitted by Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, for contempt of court and incitement to commit contempt, pursuant to Article 1(4)(a) of the Mechanism’s Statute (Statute) and Rule 90 of the Mechanism’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence (Rules).

On 10 October 2019, Judge Vagn Joensen confirmed an Indictment against Augustin Ngirabatware, dated 9 August 2019 and submitted by Prosecutor Serge Brammertz, for contempt of court and incitement to commit contempt, pursuant to Article 1(4)(a) of the Statute and Rule 90 of the Rules.

On 10 December 2019, Judge Vagn Joensen granted the Prosecutor’s motion for joinder of 18 October 2019 and ordered that the Ngirabatware contempt case be joined with the Turinabo et al. case.

MAXIMILIEN TURINABO

Turinabo was, at different stages during the Ngirabatware case before the ICTR (Case No. ICTR-99-54), a Defence contact person in the Gisenyi area.

AUGUSTIN NGIRABATWARE

In July 1990, Ngirabatware was appointed Minister of Planning, a position he retained as part of the Interim Rwandan Government in April 1994. He was also a member of the Prefecture Committee of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (“MRND”) political party in Gisenyi Prefecture, the National Committee of the MRND, and the technical committee of Nyamyumba Commune.

JEAN DE DIEU NDAGIJIMANA

Ndagijimana was a teacher and school administrator in the Gisenyi area before mid-1994, including at Kiloji and Bwitereke schools.

DICK PRUDENCE MUNYESHULI

Munyeshuli served as a defence investigator on a number of cases before the ICTR and the Mechanism. From approximately August 2015 until January 2018, he was an investigator on the defence team of Augustin Ngirabatware.

MARIE ROSE FATUMA

Fatuma is the widow of Augustin Ngirabatware’s half-brother Édouard Byukusenge, also known as “Cenge”.

ANSELME NZABONIMPA

Nzabonimpa was the bourgemestre of Kayove Commune, Gisenyi Prefecture, Rwanda, before mid-1994.

Indictments

A strictly confidential Indictment against Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, Marie Rose Fatuma, and Dick Prudence Munyeshuli, dated 5 June 2018, was confirmed by Judge Seon Ki Park on 24 August 2018. A public redacted version of the Indictment was filed on 5 September 2018.  On 17 October 2019, Judge Vagn Joensen, the Single Judge seised of the Turinabo et al. case, granted the Prosecution’s motion to amend the Indictment and the Prosecution filed the operative indictment on 21 October 2019.

A strictly confidential Indictment against Augustin Ngirabatware, dated 9 August 2019, was confirmed by Judge Vagn Joensen on 10 October 2019. A public version of the Indictment was filed on the same day.

IRMCT Single Judge

Judge Vagn Joensen

Status of the Case

Each of the six accused has pleaded not guilty to the respective count or counts charged against him or her. On 10 December 2019, Judge Vagn Joensen issued a decision that the existing Turinabo et al. and Ngirabatware contempt cases would be joined into one proceeding and prosecuted on the basis of the two separate Indictments mentioned above. The joint case is currently in the Pre-Trial phase.

Indictments

In accordance with Article 1(4)(a) of the Statute and Rule 90 of the Rules, the Mechanism has the competence to conduct investigations, trials, and appeals in cases of contempt of court arising out of Mechanism, ICTR or ICTY proceedings. Those who knowingly and willfully interfere with the administration of justice, or incite or attempt to commit any of the acts punishable as contempt of the Mechanism, the ICTY, or the ICTR, may be held in contempt.

TURINABO ET AL. INDICTMENT

The Indictment against Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, Marie Rose Fatuma, and Dick Prudence Munyeshuli charges two counts of contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism and one count of incitement to commit contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism. The Turinabo et al. Indictment was confirmed by Judge Seon Ki Park on 24 August 2018. The Prosecution filed a public redacted version of the Indictment on 5 September 2018. On 17 October 2019, Judge Vagn Joensen granted the Prosecution’s request to amend the Turinabo et al. Indictment and the operative Indictment was filed on 21 October 2019.

The Prosecution alleges in the Turinabo et al. Indictment that, from at least August 2015 through September 2018, Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, and Marie Rose Fatuma sought to overturn Augustin Ngirabatware’s final conviction by interfering with the administration of justice, directly and/or through others, including by pressuring, offering bribes to, and otherwise influencing protected witnesses. In addition, or in the alternative, the Prosecution alleges that they incited others to commit contempt by interfering with protected witnesses. Furthermore, the Prosecution alleges that Dick Prudence Munyeshuli and Maximilien Turinabo knowingly violated the protective measures ordered by the Trial and Appeals Chambers by disclosing the identities of protected witnesses and that Dick Prudence Munyeshuli had prohibited indirect contact with the protected witnesses in knowing violation of court orders.

NGIRABATWARE INDICTMENT

The Indictment against Augustin Ngirabatware charges two counts of contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism and one count of incitement to commit contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism. Judge Vagn Joensen confirmed the Ngirabatware Indictment on 10 October 2019, and the Prosecution filed a public version of the Indictment on the same day.

The Prosecution alleges in the Ngirabatware Indictment that, from at least August 2015 through September 2018, Augustin Ngirabatware, directly and/or through Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, and/or Marie Rose Fatuma sought to influence protected witnesses to recant their trial testimonies in order to overturn his final conviction, thereby interfering with the administration of justice. In addition, or in the alternative, the Prosecution alleges that Augustin Ngirabatware knowingly and willfully incited, inter alia, Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, and/or Marie Rose Fatuma to commit contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism. Furthermore, the Prosecution alleges that Augustin Ngirabatware knowingly disclosed confidential information and had prohibited contact with a protected witness in knowing violation of court orders.

CHARGES

The charges against the original Turinabo et al. accused include:

Count 1 - Contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism

  • Maximilien TURINABO, Anselme NZABONIMPA, Jean de Dieu NDAGIJIMANA, and Marie Rose FATUMA
  • Interfering with protected witnesses

Count 2 - Incitement to commit contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism

  • Maximilien TURINABO, Anselme NZABONIMPA, Jean de Dieu NDAGIJIMANA, and Marie Rose FATUMA
  • Additionally or alternatively incited others to commit contempt by interfering with protected witnesses                         

Count 3 - Contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism

  • Dick Prudence MUNYESHULI and Maximilien TURINABO
  • Knowingly disclosing the identities of protected witnesses in violation of court orders
    • Dick Prudence MUNYESHULI
  • Having prohibited indirect contact with protected witnesses in violation of court orders

The charges against Augustin Ngirabatware, which are set forth in a separate indictment, include:

Count 1 - Contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism

  • Augustin NGIRABATWARE
  • Interfering with protected witnesses

Count 2 - Incitement to commit contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism

  • Augustin NGIRABATWARE
  • Additionally or alternatively inciting a protected witness to recant her testimony
  • Additionally or alternatively inciting others to commit contempt by interfering with protected witnesses 

Count 3 - Contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism

  • Augustin NGIRABATWARE
  • Knowingly disclosing the identities of protected witnesses in violation of court orders
  • Having prohibited contact with a protected witness in violation of a court order

Case background information

The Turinabo et al. and Ngirabatware Indictments allege that, following the Mechanism Appeals Chamber’s affirmation of Augustin Ngirabatware’s convictions for genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide, Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, Marie Rose Fatuma, and Augustin Ngirabatware engaged in a concerted effort to secure Ngirabatware’s acquittal at the review stage of his proceedings before the Mechanism through witness interference. The Indictments further allege that, during the same period, Dick Prudence Munyeshuli, Maximilien Turinabo, and Augustin Ngirabatware committed contempt by violating certain court orders related to protected witnesses.

In separate proceedings, Augustin Ngirabatware’s review hearing took place from 16 to 24 September 2019. Ngirabatware called six witnesses. At the conclusion of the presentation of evidence by Ngirabatware, the Appeals Chamber heard oral submissions by the parties for the purpose of determining whether Ngirabatware had presented sufficient evidence capable of belief to establish the new fact. On 24 September 2019, the Appeals Chamber decided that Ngirabatware had not presented such evidence and that it was not necessary to hear Prosecution evidence in rebuttal.

In its Review Judgement pronounced on 27 September 2019, the Appeals Chamber of the Mechanism rejected Ngirabatware’s attempt to show in review proceedings that the four key witnesses underpinning his convictions for direct and public incitement to commit genocide and instigating and aiding and abetting genocide had truthfully recanted their trial testimonies. The Appeals Chamber decided that the Appeal Judgement, sentencing Ngirabatware to 30 years of imprisonment for these crimes, remains in force in all respects.