Arusha, October 19th, 2000 (FH) - Prosecutors at the InternationalCriminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday maintained their positionthat former Rwandan mayor Ignace Bagilishema organized and participated ingenocide. "Up to the time the accused fled [in June 1994], he identified with thegovernment's genocidal position, " Ugandan prosecutor Jane Anywar Adongtold the court.

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The prosecution was speaking for the last time before the trial goes todeliberation. Judges had given prosecutors more time to prepare theirresponse to questions raised by the defence during closing arguments lastmonth. The prosecution was represented by Adong, Wallace Kapaya of Tanzaniaand Charles Adeogun-Philips of Nigeria. Bagilishema was mayor of Mabanza (Kibuye prefecture, western Rwanda)during the genocide which left some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus deadbetween April and July 1994. He is accused of genocide and crimes againsthumanity, but has pleaded not-guilty. Prosecutors maintained that the accused had control over his commune fromApril to June 1994 and that he supported the genocidal policies of theinterim government in place at the time. They say he was selective in theexercise of his power, deciding to protect some Tutsis while leading othersto the slaughter. The prosecution maintained that Bagilishema was responsible for themassacre of thousands of Tutsis in Kibuye football stadium, whom he hadallegedly sent from Mabanza. "Nothing that happened in Mabanza could haveoccurred without a plan, there was a plan in place," Adong told the court. She said Bagilishema "had authority, manpower and was committed to themassacres". Defence lawyers, however, have stressed numerous contradictions in thetestimonies of prosecution witnesses. They say the prosecution has notmanaged to prove its charges against Bagilishema. In the course of the trial, defence witnesses have testified that thecrimes attributed to Bagilishema were in fact committed by "Abakiga"(northern) attackers from neighbouring communes. They say Bagilishema triedto stop the attacks, but did not have the means to do so. Defence lawyers on Thursday began replying to Wednesday's arguments by theprosecution. Bagilishema's case is being heard by Trial Chamber One of the ICTR,composed of Judges Eric Mose of Norway (presiding), Mehmet Güney of Turkeyand Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. AT/JC/SW/FH (BS%1018E )