Request for referral of his case to Rwanda filed by the ICTR Prosecutor on 5 December 2007; request denied by the Trial Chamber on 19 November 2008; trial started on 20 October 2009; on 29 March 2011 sentenced to life imprisonment
Former Mayor of Murambi and Member of the National Congress of the MRND
Jean-Baptiste Gatete was born in 1953 in the Commune of Murambi in the prefecture of Byumba, Rwanda. Educated as an agricultural engineer, Jean-Baptiste Gatete was the Mayor of Murambi from 1987 to 1993 and Member of the National Congress of the MRND (National Republican Movement for Development and Democracy). In 1993 he was relieved of his mayoral duties, but still continued to exercise a certain degree of authority over the communal police, the gendarmerie and the militia in the prefectures of Byumba and Kibungo.
From the 6 April to the last few days of April 1994, Jean-Baptiste Gatete was accused of waging a campaign of terror against the Tutsi population in the prefectures of Byumba and Kibungo. In his role as leader of the Interahamwe he was said to have supervised, directed and ordered massacres of Tutsis in his commune of birth, especially in the parish of Kiziguro. Moreover he was reported to have participated directly in these operations.
More specifically, the Interahamwe militia, on his orders, were said to have massacred thousands of Tutsis who had taken refuge in the parishes of Rukara, Kiziguro and Mukarange. The mayor of Rukara, Jean Mpambara, with whom Gatete was reported to have conducted the massacres in this commune, is also being held by the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda).
Jean-Baptiste Gatete was arrested on 11 September 2002 in the Republic of Congo. On the 13 September 2002, he was transferred to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.