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Arusha, January 19 2007 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) closed the hearings in the trial called « Militaries I » this Friday and set the closing arguments of the prosecutor and of the attorneys of the four defendants in May. One of the four officers on trial is Col. Théoneste Bagosora whom the prosecution considers as the brain of the genocide of 1994. « This takes us to the conclusion of this trial », the president of the chamber, Judge Erik Mose (Norway), declared after he had heard the parties about their pending requests. « We are glad we made it alive », Mr. Raphaël Constant (France) who represents Bagosora, commented, a tongue-in-cheek hint to the keystone trial of the Tribunal fro Ex-Yugoslavia, that of the former president Slobodan Milosevic who died in detention last year before the end of his trial. The Defense Ministry cabinet director during the genocide of 1994, Bagosora, has three co-accused. The three officers are the brigadier general Gratien Kabiligi, ex-leader of the military operations for the Rwanda Army Staff, the lieutenant-colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, ex-commander of the military sector of Gisenyi (north) and the major Aloys Ntabakuze, former commander of the para commando unit. The four men are accused of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; they all plead not guilty. Before he declared the debates closed, the president of the chamber set to March 2nd the filing of the prosecutor’s report and gave until April 2nd to the various defense teams. The hearing via video-conference from The Hague of three French officers marked this last sitting of the court in this trial. The militaries were among the commander of the operation « Turquoise » conducted by the French army in Rwanda in 1994 with the agreement of the United Nations. The current government of Rwanda accuses France of having, by way of the Turquoise operation, covered the departure to the Democratic Republic of Congo of the leaders of the regime at the time of the genocide. The debates closed without the chamber having settled the question whether the current Minister of Defense, General Marcel Gatsinzi, would be heard or not. He has been called to testify in favor of Bagosora. Answering Mr. Constant, Judge Mose said that the chamber was about to issue a written decision. This trial, considered as one of the most important in the history of the ICTR, opened in April 2002. The prosecution has presented eighty-two witnesses, the defense 106. ER/PB/MG © Hirondelle News Agency