Family could appeal former officer’s ‘lenient’ sentence

Monday September 4 2017

The Supreme Court in Kigali. PHOTO | FILE

The Supreme Court in Kigali. Rwanda’s judiciary has finalised a plan to establish its saving and credit scheme. PHOTO | FILE 

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The family of Theogene Mbarushimana, a 19-year-old student, who was beaten to death by a military officer last September are considering appealing the 10-year sentence given by the military court.

Former major Aimable Rugomwa, who was a medical doctor attached to Kanombe Referral Military Hospital, was last week sentenced to ten years in prison and ordered to pay Rwf12million ($14,209) in compensation to the victim’s family.

The family said the sentence was lenient because as a medical practitioner, Rugomwa knew the likely outcome of the beating he inflicted on the victim.

“The fact that he did not even take him to the hospital when he lost consciousness, shows he wanted him to die,” said Odette Mukakamanzi, a close friend of the victim.  

Speaking to Rwanda Today, Jean Felix Rudakemwa, the family’s lawyer said they were considering appealing the verdict.

The family have 30 days from the date of judgement to appeal the decision.

The panel of judges said Rugomwa initially pleaded not guilty, arguing that he acted in self-defence, but later changed his mind and expressed remorse over the death of the victim.

The former soldier who has since been stripped of his military rank and titles went on trial last September for killing Theogene Mbarushimana.

Rugomwa said the victim broke into his compound on September 4 to steal car parts. During the trial, the prosecution said the victim died from injuries sustained from beatings inflicted by Rugomwa and his brother Mamerto Nsanzimfura.

Nsanzimfura was released in May after an independent medical examination found him psychologically unstable to face trial.
The prosecution had sought life sentence.