Arusha, August 21, 2002 (FH) - The prosecution at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR) on Wednesday made its final arguments in the genocide trial of Seventh Day Adventist Pastor, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana and his son, Gérald Ntakirutimana. Pastor Ntakirutimana is the first clergyman to be tried for genocide by an International Tribunal.

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The prosecution wrapped up and commented on the testimony of its witnesses as they shredded that of defence witnesses. At the time of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, 78, was pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist church mission at Mugonero in Kibuye. Gerald Ntakirutimana, 44, was a medical doctor at the infirmary which lay in the same complex. The prosecutor, among other accusations, alleges that the two "summoned" persecuted Tutsis to take refugee at Mugonero complex before bringing in soldiers and militias to kill them. The attack took place on April 16th, 1994. They also allegedly participated in killings of Tutsi refugees in nearby Bisesero hills. The defence case, among other arguments, contends that the two left Mugonero complex early in the morning of April 16th, 1994, before the attack. Defence witnesses have testified that the two did not return to the complex on that day. The prosecution agrees that they left Mugonero for Gishyita but says that they came back among attackers on that day. Prosecutor Charles Phillips of Nigeria and the UK told the court that this was especially possible since, according to him, Gishyita was only five kilometers away from Mugonero. The defence will make its closing arguments on Thursday. The chamber will then retreat to deliberate on the judgement. If found guilty, the two would face up to life imprisonment. Their trial began on September 18, 2001. It adjourned several times to give way for other hearings taking place in the same chamber. The last time it adjourned was May, after the defence finished presenting its witnesses. Pastor Ntakirutimana was arrested in Texas, USA, in 1996. Doctor Ntakirutimana was arrested in Ivory coast in 1996. Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and David Jacobs of Canada are lawyers for Pastor Ntakirutimana and Doctor Ntakirutimana respectively. The prosecution team composed of Charles Philips-Adeogun of Nigeria and the UK, Wallace Kapaya of Tanzania and Boi-Tia Stevens of the US. This trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of judges Erik Mose of Norway (presiding), Navanethem Pillay of South Africa and judge Andrésia Vaz of Senegal. GG/FH(NK-0821e)