Arusha, February 24, 2004, (FH)- On Wednesday 25th, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will pass sentence in another case where those presumed responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda are in its custody. This trial groups together three former officials in the south western town of Cyangugu where 80% of an estimated 50,000 belonging to the Tutsi ethnic group were killed between April and July 1994.

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The genocide claimed an estimated one million Tutsis and Hutu members of the opposition country wide. As in most major cases brought before the ICTR, the suspects held important positions within the Rwandan administration and the military. EMMANUEL BAGAMBIKI, PREFETHe was born in 1948 in Cyangugu. Before he became prefect of Cyangugu, the highest civilian administrative position, Bagambiki had a meteoric rise through the ranks. Having started out as a school teacher, Bagambiki's rise to prominence started when he was recruited into the Rwandan intelligence service which fell directly under the president's office. He was then appointed as assistant governor (Sous-Prefet) in Gitarama before being sent to Kigali Rural in the same functions. “The fire extinguisher of Bugesera”Bagambiki had risen to the full rank of Prefet of Kigali Rural Prefecture, when, in March1992, his name became associated with crimes against humanity committed in the prefecture, especially in Bugesera region. Though the massacres of Tutsis in Bugesera were attributed to Interahamwe militia, the local authorities were accused of colluding with the attackers. An Italian missionary who lived in Bugesera, Antonia Locatelli, reported of the massacres on French radio. She accused the government of deliberatelyorganising the killings she termed as “political murders”. She was shot dead the next day. In the hue and cry that followed, Bagambiki was quietly transferred to his hometown of Cyangugu. Emmanuel Bagambiki has always maintained his innocence in the Bugesera killings and instead claims that people considered him as “the fire extinguisher of Bugesera” for helping bring back peace to the region. Bagambiki is now facing seven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity for planning and implementing the genocide in Cyangugu in 1994. The former school teacher maintains his innocence and took the witness box in his own defence, claiming that he was “powerless” to stop the massacres. During his testimony, he made an emotional performance when he said that he regretted not being able to save everyone. “I ask for their forgiveness for my lack of power”, he said. He was arrested in Togo on June 5, 1998 and was transferred to Arusha a month later. ANDRE NTAGERURA, GOVERNMENT MINISTERBorn in 1950 in Karengera commune, Cyangugu prefecture, André Ntagerura was the longest serving cabinet minister among his colleagues in the 1994 interim government. He was first appointed minister of Social Affairs and Community Development in March 1981, by the former President Juvenal Habyarimana. After completing his studies at the University of Laval in Quebec, he became the deputy dean of economics, social and management sciences at the National University of Butare. He later became the Secretary General of the same University in 1980. Between 1982 and 1984 he was appointed minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research after which he served as minister for transport from1984 to 1990. From 1990 he became the minister for public works for two years and eventually moved back to the ministry of Transport and Communication from 1992 to 1994. Ntagerura, an economist by profession, was also a member of the central committee of the ruling party, the MRND, and one of the original shareholders the “hate radio”, Radio Télévision Libre de Mille Colines (RTLM). According to the prosecution, Ntagerura had strong political ties in Cyangugu and frequently travelled there, particularly to Karengera, to conduct MRND rallies. The MRND had included him as Minister of Planning in the list of Ministers they were proposing for the broad-based government agreed upon in the 1993Arusha peace negotiations between the government and the rebel Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF). In May 1994, Ntagerura led the Rwandan government delegation to Arusha to try and negotiate a ceasefire agreement with the RPF. French sociology professor André Guichaoua, who testified as an expert witness for the prosecution in the Cyangugu trial, told the court on September 20, 2001 that Ntagerura, never lost political power on the ground. Guichaoua quoted another Cyangugu leader as having called Ntagerura "the Ambassador of Cyangugu in Kigali". He said that as minister, Ntagerura was in charge of logistical means including the state-owned telephone company Rwandatel and the public transport company ONATRACOM. Being the minister for Transport, Ntagerura is accused of having allowed or authorised the use of government vehicles, specifically buses belonging to the state-owned transport company, ONATRACOM, for the transportation of [Interahamwe] militia, as well as the transportation of arms and ammunitions to Cyangugu region during the genocide. He was arrested on March 27 1996 in Cameroon. Guichaoua described Ntagerura and Bagambiki as very powerful and respected authorities in Cyangugu. LIEUTENANT SAMUEL IMANISHIMWELieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe, the third accused, was born in 1961. He places his place of birth as being Rwerere commune in the northern Rwanda province of Gisenyi, but the indictment reads that he was born in Masisi region in present day eastern Democratic Republic of CongoHe attended primary, secondary and college education in Congo, and later did four years of military training at the prestigious Ecole Supérieure Militaire (ESM) in Rwanda. He was appointed commander of Cyangugu military camp in 1993 after a brief spell at the headquarters in Kigali. After two weeks of military training in Belgium, Imanishimwe was posted to the Gako military academy (Bugesera) as an instructor. In 1990, a year after he had joined the academy, he joined the frontline of the Rwandan armed forces in its war against the Rwandan Patriotic Front. He later joined the general staff in the department of military operations (G-3) at the army general staff. In 1993, he was appointed commander of Karambo military barracks in Cyangugu. He is accused of organising wide-scale massacres all over Cyangugu and personally taking part in the killings. Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe will be the first military officer to be sentenced for his alleged role in the 1994 genocide by the ICTR. KN/PJ/CE/FH (GVII'0224e)