Arusha, February 24, 2004 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), will on Wednesday read the judgment in the trial of three former officials from the western Rwanda town of Cyangugu for crimes allegedly committed there in 1994. The accused in the so-called “Cyangugu trial” are the former minister of Transport and communications, André Ntagerura, 54, the former Prefect of Cyangugu, Emmanuel Bagambiki, 55 and the former commander of Karambo military barracks in Cyangugu, 43- year old Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe.

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The prosecution maintains that the three are responsible for the death of an estimated 50,000 Tutsis in all parts of the prefecture. The massacres were committed in diverse places in Cyangugu such as churches in Nyamasheke and Mibilizi, the Cyangugu Cathedral and the Gashirabwoba football stadium. The indictment continues that the trio kidnapped refugees from Kamarampaka stadium, took them to a place called Gatandara where they were killed. Ntagerura is also accused of allegedly authorising the use of government vehicles, in particular buses from the national transport company, ONATRACOM, to transport Interahamwe militia as well as arms and ammunition to Cyangugu region during the genocide. The trial has been under deliberation since August 15, 2004. The prosecutor requested for life imprisonment for the three accused while the defence teams pleaded acquittal. The trial began on September 18, 2000. A total of 126 witnesses - 41 being for the prosecution - were heard in 160 trial days. The trial is taking place Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR composed of judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia, and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. André Ntagerura was arrested in Cameroon on March 27, 1996. He holds a Masters degree in Business Administration form Laval University in Quebec (Canada). He was minister in Rwanda from 1981 to 1994. He had earlier taught at the National University of Rwanda (UNR). He is defended by Benoit Henry (Canada) and Hamuli Rety wa Mudeydey (Franco-Congolese). He will be the fourth member of the interim government to be judged by the tribunal. The others are the former Prime Minister, Jean Kambanda, the former minister of information, Eliezer Niyitegeka, and the former minister of higher education, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda. All three were sentenced to life imprisonment. Emmanuel Bagambiki was arrested in Togo on June 8, 1998. He served as sub-prefect for Gisenyi and prefect for Gitarama, Kigali Rural and Cyangugu respectively. His lawyers are Vincent Lurquin from Belgium and Seydou Doumbia of the Malian Bar. Bagambiki will be the second former prefect to be judged by the ICTR, following Clement Kayishema, former prefect of Kibuye. Kayishema was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1999. 43 year-old Samuel Imanishimwe was arrested in Kenya on August 11, 1997. His defence team is composed of Marie-Louise Mbida from Cameroon and professorJean Pierre Fofe from Democratic Republic of Congo. Imanishimwe will be the first military officer to be sentenced by the tribunal. The ICTR has other soldiers in its custody including the former Chief of Staff of the former Rwandan army, General Augustin Bizimungu ans well as the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, whom the prosecution refers to as the “mastermind” of the genocide. KN/ER/AT/CE/FH (CY''0224e)