Arusha, June 7, 2001 (FH) - The government of Rwanda said on Thursday it respects the judgement of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) acquitting former mayor Ignace Bagilishema of all charges. "We respect the finding of the Chamber," said Rwanda's special representative to the Tribunal Martin Ngoga.

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"This is a verdict and we respect it. "" We understand that the prosecution has expressed the need to appeal," Ngoga continued, "and this I think will be another opportunity for all parties involved to utilize appropriately. It will lead us to a position where, we shall say, justice has been pursued to finality. "Trial Chamber One of the ICTR earlier Thursday announced its decision to acquit Bagilishema of all seven charges against him. Prosecution had charged him with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for his alleged role in massacres of Tutsis during the 1994 genocide. The Chamber found that prosecution evidence was not convincing and was not up to "the required standards" of proof. The decision was not unanimous, however, among the three judges. Judge Mehmet Güney of Turkey was satisfied that there was evidence to convict Bagilishema for complicity in genocide and three counts of crimes against humanity. GG/JC/MBR/FH (BS0607h)