Arusha, June 28th, '99 (FH) - The trial of former Rwandan tea factory director Alfred Musema ended on Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The judges will now deliberate on the case.

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"The judgement will be delivered at a later date, and I can tell you we will need a few months," Swedish presiding judge Lennart Aspegren said as hearings ended. He said the parties would be informed of the date of the verdict "as soon as the judges are ready". Musema, former director of the state-owned tea factory in Gisovu (Kibuye prefecture, western Rwanda) is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, including rape. The charges relate to massacres of ethnic Tutsis in the Bisesero region of Kibuye, where thousands fled between April and July 1994 to escape persecution. In his closing arguments, Musema's British defence lawyer Steven Kay called for his client to be freed. Kay said the alibi arguments presented during the trial proved beyond reasonable doubt that Musema had not committed the crimes of which he is accused. "After so many years, it would only be just to release him, " Kay told the court. Musema was arrested in Switzerland on February 11th, 1995. His case was first handled by the judicial authorities of the Swiss military, until the ICTR requested his transfer to Arusha. In the course of the trial, Musema's defence team have shown the court various documents including letters, bills and orders to travel, as proof that their client was not in Kibuye prefecture at the time he is accused of committing the crimes. In her closing arguments, Ugandan prosecutor Jane Anwar Adong contested the alibi arguments advanced by the defence, saying that the accused had "covered his tracks". Adong quoted French sociologist André Guichaoua, who appeared as an expert prosecution witness on May 6th. Guichaoua told the court that the accused knew they would be called to account for their acts during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and therefore prepared their defence. Adong explained that the prosecution was unable to provide material evidence, such as medical reports or sperm samples, because "the genocide occurred in a country with no law and order". On the other hand, defence lawyers said the prosecution had tried to force the court's hand by overloading the indictment. "The fact that the indictment contains charges as politically sensitive as sexual allegations should not lead you to favour the prosecution's point of view," the defence team told the judges. Musema is defended by British lawyer Steven Kay and his co-counsel Michail Wladimiroff of the Netherlands. Both were members of the defence team for Serb nationalist Dusko Tadic at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Musema was born on August 22nd, 1949 in Rutare (Byumba prefecture, northeastern Rwanda). He is married with three children. The accused studied agricultural science in Belgium. After fleeing to Switzerland at the end of 1994, Musema applied for political asylum there. He was recognized and denounced by an association of Rwandan genocide victims, and subsequently arrested in an asylum-seekers hostel in Lausanne. The court has heard 24 witnesses for the prosecution and six for the defence since the trial started on January 25th this year. This is the first trial to take place under new rules introduced on June 8th, 1998, and designed to speed up procedures at the ICTR. It has taken five months. The prosecution has urged the court to impose the maximum sentence of life imprisonment on Musema. The accused said he would submit to the wisdom of the tribunal. AT/JC/FH (MU'a70628f)