Arusha, August 19, 2003 (FH) - The prosecutor in the case where three people are accused of using the media to incite ethnic hatred and genocide in the run of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Tuesday asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), to condemn the accused to the maximum sentence possible (life emprisonnement). Stephen Rapp, lead prosecution counsel made the application on the second and last day that he, together with his team, ended their closing arguments before Trial Chamber One of the tribunal.

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"A crime of genocide is a crime of all crimes", pointed out Rapp describing the gravity of the crimes the accused are charged with. "Each of the accused caused the death of more people than the militia at the road blocks and in churches". The prosecutor was referring to Ferdinand Nahimana,a former university professor and allegedly head of the hate Radio télévision libre de mille collines (RTLM, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, a fellow board member of the Radio and senior official the extremist party, Coalition for the Defence of Republic (CDR, and Hassan Ngeze, former owner and editor-in-chief of an extremist publication, Kangura. All three had pleaded not guilty to different charges ranging from crimes against humanity (murder, persecution and extermination), genocide, incitement and conspiracy to commit genocide and complicity in genocide. Simone Monasebian, counsel for the prosecution, had earlier come back to evidence given before the tribunal that proved how powerful Barayagwiza and Nahimana were in the Rwandan administration. The prosecutor talked of one incident where a government prosecutor had told his subordinate not to pursue RTLM after learning that Nahimana was involved in the radio station. "If Nahimana is involved, then it means the whole Akazu"(former president Habyarimana's inner circle) is involved. Drop itMonasebian quoted a defence witness as having testified. "They were always above the law", said the prosecutor referring to the accused, urging the tribunal to deal harshly with them so that "impunity lives no more". "They paralyzed the judiciary with their interference"said Monasebian. They should be held liable for their action and omissions. They should be held criminally liable for the actions of their subordinates. While Barayagwiza has boycotted the proceedings from the beginning, Nahimana has denied ever being the directorof RTLM, but in a radio broadcast of RTLM in the first days of the genocide replayed in court, Nahimana is heard acknowledging being a founder of RTLM. Aggravating circumstancesApart from Ngeze, who the prosecution accuses of having taken part in the killings at "commune rouge", a killing ground in Gisenyi (north-west Rwanda) and in the death of one, Modeste Tabaro, Ferdinand Nahimana and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza were accused by Stephen Rapp of "throwing fuel around the fire". Their Influence and importance are aggravating circumstances, said Rapp. Barayagwiza was also accused of distributing weapons to militiamen and having "superior control"over one of the two militia groups, the "Impuzamugambi", the militia of CDR. "The zeal in which the crimes were committed are aggravating circumstances", said William Egbe, another member of the prosecution team. He also appealed to the tribunal to take into account of the continued absence of Barayagwiza in the proceedings. "Someone who does not seek mercy does not need mercy", he said. Ferdinand Nahimana is represented by Jean-Marie Biju-Duval from France and Diana Ellis, QC. Hassan Ngeze's defence team is made up of the American lawyer, John Floyd and Rene Martel from Canada. Barayagwiza on the other hand is defended by Giacomo Barletta Caldarera. Chamber One of the ICTR in this case is made up of Navanethem Pillay (presiding), and is assisted by Erik Møse of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. KN/AT/FH (ME0819E)