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Arusha, 28 May 2007 (FH) – The chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), without applying for a defined punishment, asked the Judges to convict the ex-director of the cabinet of the Ministry of Defence, Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, as well as his three co-accused of all counts charged against them, the Hirondelle Agency noticed.
In trial since April 2002, the presumed “brain” of the genocide in 1994 and his three brothers-in-arms have been prosecuted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. They could be sentenced to life imprisonment, the highest sentence before the ICTR.
“To this day, the four accused have accepted no responsibility for their crimes and role in the killings. They have instead chosen to blame others”, the chief Prosecutor, Gambian Hassan Bubacar Jallow, held at the end of his speech.
“The Chamber must now lay the blame where it belongs. And find the accused guilty of the crimes charged”; Mr. Jallow added, though he did not apply for a defined sentence, contrary to the normal practice before the ICTR.
The other accused are the ex-Chief of the military operations in the general staff of the army, the General of the Brigade, Gratien Kabiligi, the ex military sector commander of Gisenyi (North), Lieutenant-Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, and the ex Para-commando battalion commander, Major Aloys Ntabakuze.
“They prepared, planned, ordered, directed, incited, encouraged and approved the killing of innocent civilian Tutsi men, women and children, and others considered their accomplices”, Jallow accused. ”No persons contributed more than these four accused to the success of that terrible campaign”, the Prosecutor added. According to him, in the frame of a conspiracy to carry out the genocide, the four accused had ordered militaries and militia to kill Tutsi men and to rape their daughters and wives.
In particularly blaming Bagosora, he accused him of having refused to let Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, “the legitimate and constitutional authority”, participate in the management of the crisis following the assassination of President Juvénal Habyarimana on 6 April 1994. Mrs. Uwilingiyimana was assassinated by soldiers of the Rwandan governmental army on 7 April 1994.
According to Jallow, Bagosora is also responsible for the assassination of the ten Belgian blue helmets, committed with the aim of provoking the retreat of the United Nations forces, to make way for the killing machinery.
Bagosora did not attend the hearing on Monday morning, not having been informed of the rejection of his request for challenging the Chamber, which he had accused of having been partial throughout the trial. He had announced that he would not appear in court unless a decision concerning his request was issued. In the afternoon he was at the side of his co-accused for the start of the defence’s speech.
© Hirondelle News Agency