Arusha, March 6, 2002 (FH) - One of three genocide suspects in the Cyangugu trial, Samuel Imanishimwe, was on Wednesday acquitted of one of the charges against him by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR's) trial Chamber Three. "The motion on Imanishimwe is allowed by majority," the Chamber announced.

1 min 43Approximate reading time

His defence had filed a motion for acquittal on the charge of conspiracy to commit genocide last month. Imanishimwe now faces charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations to the Geneva conventions. Imanishimwe was, at the time of the 1994 events, commander of the Karambo military camp in Cyangugu. He is one of the three genocide suspects from Cyangugu in southwest Rwanda in the case dubbed Cyangugu Trial. The others are former Transport Minister André Ntagerura and former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki. The case is before Trial Chamber Three composed of judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia, and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. Delivering the ruling on the motion, Judge Williams, said that there was a dissenting opinion on the decision. "We have a split," he said. He said he would put his ruling in writing. Dissenting Judge Dolenc said: "I respectfully dissented with the decision of the majority". He however added that the rules of procedure set for very limited and specific grounds for acquittal. "Acquittal at this stage of the trial maybe based on insufficiency (of evidence)", he said. Prosecutors allege that in consort with Bagambiki, Imanishimwe helped prepare lists of people to eliminate. These lists were given to soldiers under Imanishimwe's command and militia with orders to arrest and kill the persons listed. Prosecution further alleges that some Tutsi refugees were arrested and brought to Imanishimwe, who ordered them to be executed. In the motion, Imanishimwe's lawyers had argued that the Prosecutor has not brought evidence to prove the conspiracy charge. Marie-Louise Mbida of Cameroon and Jean-Pierre Fofe of the Democratic Republic of Congo represent Imanishiwe. Russian judge Yakov Ostrovsky said, "all elements should be considered in this case. " He added that the indictment did not specify, "He (Imanishimwe) was in agreement…It was necessary during evidence of prosecution to show with whom Mr Imanishimwe was in agreement to commit genocide, where and when. " Judge Ostrovsky said. Judge Ostrovsky further said it appeared that the charge was included in the indictment "to increase the number of counts at the last moment". Meantime, defence counsels for former Transport Minister Ntagerura made their opening statement on Wednesday afternoon. Canadian Benoit Henry and Hamuli Rety of France and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) represent Ntagerura. The first defence witness testifying for Ntagerura is due to start giving evidence on Thursday morning. SW/JA/FH (CY-0306e)