Arusha, October 19th, 2000 (FH) - The prosecution should have withdrawn itscase against former Rwandan mayor Ignace Bagilishema for lack of evidence,a defence lawyer told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)on Thursday. "It's a question of honour for a prosecutor to be able to say at a certainpoint, I have not got enough evidence against this man, I recognize that,so I withdraw the case," Bagilishema's co-counsel Maroufa Diabira ofMauritania told the court.

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He said this would have strengthened the causeof international justice. "A person is not guilty just because they are Hutu," Diabira continued. "They are not guilty just because they held a position of responsibility. Bagilishema was a Hutu in a position of responsibility but he is notguilty. That is why I hope you will let him go back to his family. " Diabirasaid testimonies by prosecution witnesses contained "major inconsistencieslinked to falsehood". The lawyer was responding to prosecutors' arguments heard Wednesday. Theprosecution had been given extra time to respond to defence questionsraised during last month's closing arguments. Prosecutors maintained thatBagilishema participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The former mayorof Mabanza (Kibuye prefecture, western Rwanda) is charged with genocide andcrimes against humanity. But the suspect's lead counsel François Roux of France said theprosecution's arguments had left him with an "immense impression ofconfusion, sadness and anger". "The further we advance in this trial, theless we know about the position of the prosecutor," he said. "I would like to point out that the Sydney Olympics are over," Rouxcontinued. "Medals for gymnastics are no longer being counted!" Roux saidthe prosecution was continually asking the judges to "look at the bigpicture" because its case could not stand up to scrutiny of the details. "The prosecution does not know its case," Roux continued, "they are makingthings up as they go along. " He cited, for example, the fact that theprosecution had admitted Bagilishema was someone of good character up toApril 12th, 1994, the day of an alleged meeting with Kibuye prefect ClémentKayishema. Roux told the court this was a new position, which made a nonsense ofallegations in the indictment that referred to earlier dates. Also, hesaid, the prosecution had offered no explanation for how a man couldundergo a total character change in one day. The prosecution was represented by Jane Anywar Adong of Uganda, WallaceKapaya of Tanzania and Charles Adeogun-Philips of Nigeria. Bagilishema'scase is being heard by Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of JudgesEric Mose of Norway (presiding), Mehmet Güney of Turkey and Asoka de ZoysaGunawardana of Sri Lanka. AT/JC/FH (BS%1019E )