Arusha, July 14, 2003 (FH) – The prosecutor began on Monday her closing arguments in the trial of genocide suspect and former Mukingo Mayor, Juvenal Kajelijeli, before International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Ifeoma Ojemeni of Nigeria, prosecuting the case, declared she has “proved beyond reasonable doubt” that Kajelijeli stands guilty of the heinous deeds he is accused of.

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She added that the prosecution had in their evidence established that Kajelijeli “commanded, supervised and participated” in attacks on Tutsis in Mukingo and neighbouring communes, in 1994 where, she said, “many Tutsis were abducted, raped and massacred” . Kajelijeli, 52, is charged with eight counts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed between April and July 1994, allegedly committed against Tutsis in Mukingo commune in Ruhengeri prefecture (Northwest Rwanda) and surrounding areas. The prosecutor added that the former mayor was an active and important member of MRND party in Ruhengeri prefecture (ruling party during the genocide) from 1988 to July 1994, when he fled the county. Given his position in the party, he was instrumental in the formation of the Interahamwe (youth wing of MRND) which was used to commit attacks on Tutsis in 1994, she said. She also alleged that Kajelijeli and Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary-General of MRND, were the founders of the Interahamwe. Nzirorera is in the custody of ICTR awaiting trial. The prosecutor told the court that Nzirorera, who was a close friend of the suspect, infleunced the political rising of Kajelijeli who is of low education background. Nzirorera had influenced the appointment of Kajelijeli in 1994, as the mayor of Mukingo, to compensate him for elimination of Tutsis, the prosecutor argued. Furthermore, she added, Kajelijeli was the leader of Interahamwe branch in Mukingo commune, for whom he organized military training for the Interahamwe. The training was conducted in the compound at a building owned by Nzirorera in Mukingo. On April 6th when president Juvenal Habyarimana's plane was shot down, Kajelijeli allegedly held meetings at the commune asking the Interahamwe to start work (kill Tutsis). Kajelijeli trial started on July 4 th 2001. The prosecution closed its case on April 10, 2002 after presenting fourteen witnesses while the defence case was closed on April 23, 2003 after the testimony of 28 witnesses. The accused is represented by Prof. Lennox Hinds of USA. Kajelijeli's trial is before Trial Chamber II composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho). PJ/CE/FH (KH'0714e)