Arusha, July 15, 2003 (FH) -The prosecution on Tuesday asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to convict and imprison for the remainder of his life former Mukingo Mayor Juvenal Kajelijeli, as it wrapped up its closing arguments. The prosecuting attorney Ifoema Ojemeni of Nigeria, submitted that the offences Kajelijeli is facing are of grave magnitude and the most appropriate sentence is imprisonment for the remainder of his life.

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Kajelijeli, 52, is facing eight counts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed between April and July 1994. These crimes were allegedly committed against Tutsis in Mukingo commune in Ruhengeri prefecture (Northwest Rwanda) and surrounding areas. “The prosecution has adduced ample evidence to support these charges,” Ojemeni stated. Ojemeni, who began her closing arguments on Monday, added that the prosecution has outlined all the atrocities committed by the accused. It had also given the places where he committed the acts and eye witness accounts, between April 7th and 10th, 1994. The prosecutor said the twelve prosecution witnesses, who testified as having seen Kajelijeli participate in massacres, had no motive to lie contrary to allegations by the defence. She further dismissed Kajelijeli's alibi terming it as fabricated lies. The six witnesses who confirmed the accused's alibi are, according to the prosecutor, “ unreliable witnesses whose evidence should be disregarded”. Kajelijeli's lead counsel,Professor Lennox Hinds of the United States, began his closing arguments in the afternoon and is expected to finish on Wednesday. Kajelijeli's trial is before Trial Chamber II where Judge William HusseinSekule of Tanzania is presiding, assisted by Judge Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) and Judge Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho)PJ/CE/FH (KH'0715e)