Gatete Trial starts at ICTR 20 Oct 2009
The trial of former Interahamwe militia leader Jean-Baptiste Gatete, has begun in Arusha.

Jean-Baptiste GateteOn 20 October, 2009 the trial of former Interahamwe militia leader Jean-Baptiste Gatete, began before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Jean-Baptiste Gatete is accused of organising and participating in the killings of Tutsi refugees during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. Gatete is charged with six counts of genocide or complicity in the alternative, conspiracy to commit genocide, and extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity. The Prosecution alleges that Gatete planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning and execution of these crimes, in addition to participating in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at the elimination of the Tutsi population.

Jean-Baptiste Gatete was the bourgmestre of Murambi commune from 1987 to 1993 and Member of the National Congress of the MRND (National Republican Movement for Development and Democracy). Gatete ceased his mayoral duties in 1993 but retained considerable influence over the area, particularly the gendarmerie and the militia in the prefectures of Byumba and Kibungo . In his role as leader of the Interahamwe, he is accused of supervising, directing and ordering massacres of Tutsis in his commune, most notably in the parish of Kiziguro.

Gatete has been in the custody of the Tribunal since September 2002. As part of the Completion Strategy of the ICTR, the Prosecutor had requested the trial of Gatete and four other accused to be transferred to the national jurisdiction of Rwanda. This request was rejected by the ICTR in November 2008 over concerns about the Rwandan legal system’s ability to ensure a fair trial.

Gatete’s trial is the seventh new trial to commence before the ICTR in 2009. Earlier this year the trials of three accused whose cases the Tribunal refused to refer to the jurisdiction of Rwanda - Idelphonse Hategekimana, Yussuf Munyakazi and Gaspard Kanyarukiga. - all began before the ICTR.

Click here for an overview of the Rwandan genocide and the prosecution of its suspected perpetrators at the ICTR.

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