Arusha, August 11, 2003 (FH) - The prosecutor in the so-called Cyangugutrial Monday ended its closing arguments by requesting Trial Chamber Three of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to sentence all the accused to life imprisonment. The prosecutor, Richard Karegyesa from Uganda made the request in the joint trial of three suspects.

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André Ntagerura, 53, the former minister of transport and communication in the interim government, the former prefect of Cyangugu, Emmanuel Bagambiki, 54, and the former military commander of Karambo barracks in Cyangugu, Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe, 42, have all pleaded not guilty to all charges. The three former government officials are accused of organising and supervising massacres in Cyangugu (south-west Rwanda) during the 1994 genocide. Their trial began on September 18 2000. Karegyesa called for "the severest forms of consecutive life sentences for each count that the accused may be found guilty". He added that the accused had failed in their duties of protecting those they had sworn to protect. The prosecutor continued that it had proved its case "beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had committed intentional and systematic murder with the intent to destroy in part or whole a racial group". Prosecutors say the three accused acted together to try to eliminate the Tutsi population, notably in the Cyangugu region by planning, inciting, ordering and facilitating these massacres. They are also charged in connection with the acts of their subordinatesThe prosecution says that more than 100,000 Tutsis were massacred in Cyangugu prefecture in the space of 23 days, though the official Rwanda government census puts the figure of the victims to 50,000. Apart from Karegyesa, the prosecution team was made up of Tanzanian Holo Makwaia and Andra Mobberly from New Zealand. Emmanuel Bagambiki is defended by Vincent Lurquin from Belgium, assisted by Seydou Doumbia, a Belgian of Malian descent. Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwes defence team is made up of Marie-Louise Mbida and Jean Pierre Fofe, from Cameroon and D:R Congo respectively. Canadian Benoît Henry and Hamuli Rety wa Mudeydey from France, are André Ntagerura's defence counsel. Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR will continue Tuesday when the defence begin presenting their closing briefs. Chamber Three in this trial is composed of Judge George Lloyd Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc from Slovenia. KN/FH(CY'0811e)