Arusha, 13 January 2009 (FH)-The Prosecution has requested for an extension of time limit to apply for an appeal in the acquittal of General Gratien Kabiligi, former Head of the Military Operations Bureau (G-3) of the Ex-FAR during the 1994 Genocide against ethnic Tutsis.

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The 30-day deadline expires on Sunday.

The extension follows delay in filing the full judgement of the trial, referred as "Military 1", which was delivered on 18 December, 2008.

"We have requested for an extension of time limit for an appeal because we have not yet received the full judgement," Justice Hassan Jallow, told Hirondelle Agency. "We have to read the judgement in full to make our position," added Justice Jallow.

The Court has yet to be make a ruling over the request.

General Kabiligi was acquitted in the joint trial of three other top former Rwandan army officers, including the alleged master-mind of 1994 genocide Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, who was then Director of Cabinet in the Rwandan Ministry of Defence.

Bagosora together with Major Aloys Ntabakuze, Commander of the Para Commando Battalion and Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, Commander of the Operational Sector of Gisenyi, were handed life imprisonment, the maximum sentence allowed under the UN Statute.

The Chamber acquitted Kabiligi of all charges against him and ordered his release.

The Prosecution in its closing arguments alleged that Kabiligi participated in the distribution of weapons, meetings to plan the genocide as well as a number of specific crimes, many of which were related to roadblocks in the Kigali area. Kabiligi advanced a successful alibi for much of this time period. It was also not proven that he had operational authority or that he targeted civilians. 

The trial opened on 2 April 2002 before Trial Chamber III. After the non-reelection of one judge and the announced retirement of another, the case was transferred with the consent of the accused in June 2003 to Trial Chamber I, composed of Judges Erik Mose of Norway (presiding), Sergei Alekseevich Egorov of Russia and Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji.

A total of 242 witnesses were heard during the trial, 82 for the Prosecution and 160 for the Defence. The trial concluded after 408 days.

More than 300 written judicial decisions were issued during the course of the proceedings. In parallel with this trial, the judges heard nine single-accused cases.


© Hirondelle News Agency