Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bagosora Case - Lawyers Close Arguments

New Times (Kigali) NEWS
5 June 2007

By Felly Kimenyi Kigali

The high profile trial involving notorious former Director of Cabinet in the ministry of defence during the Genocide, Col. Theoneste Bagosora, was finally concluded after 408 trial days at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). In his closing remarks, the ICTR chief prosecutor, Boubakar Jallow said that Bagosora, together with his three co-accused were entirely responsible for all the atrocities committed by the Ex-FAR during the genocide.
His co-accused are; Gen. (Rtd) Gratien Kabiligi, former Chief of Military Operations in the Rwandan Armed Forces; Lt. Col. (Rtd) Anatole Nsengiyumva, former Commander of the Gisenyi Military Operational Sector; and Maj. Aloys Ntabakuze, former Commander of the Para-commando Battalion.
During his May 28 closing argument, Jallow told the judges that the quartet held immense power and authority during the genocide and they later used their power and influence to plan, order, direct and incite the Genocide that claimed over one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
He said that the four former military leaders were responsible for ordering the killing of moderate leaders, including former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, who was killed a day after the plane carrying former president Juvenal Habyarimana crashed.
Maj. Bernard Ntuyahaga is on trial in Belgian capital Brussels for leading the mob that killed Uwilingiyimana together with her security detail of 10 Belgian para-troopers.
The Military 1 trial as it is commonly known at the Tanzania-based tribunal has been going on for almost five years putting 72 people on the witness stand, among who was Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, who was commandant of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda, (UNAMIR).
The jury did not set the day when the verdict would be pronounced, but Dr Tim Gallimore, the ICTR prosecution spokesman, recently said that the verdict may be pronounced later this year because of the length the trial took during the proceedings.
Bagosora and his co-accused are jointly charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or in the alternative complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and the Second Additional Protocol (war crimes).
In his arguments, Jallow did not suggest a sentence for the accused but if found guilty, the counts to which they are accused carry life imprisonment which is the highest sentence the UN tribunal can give.
The tribunal was established by a UN security council and has so far rendered 32 judgments, five of which are acquittals.
Among the judgments rendered is one for former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda who pleaded guilty to spearheading Genocide and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Currently he is serving his sentence in a Malian prison.
The ICTR mandate is expected to expire in December 2008 and proceedings on first instance and appeals are scheduled to have been completed by 2010.
Rwanda is tipped as the potential candidate to receive cases that will not have been completed by this time.

Copyright © 2007 New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by All Africa Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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