Arusha, January 29, 2010 (FH) - The Prosecution on Thursday urged the U.N Court trying key suspects of the 1994 Rwanda genocide to hand down the maximum sentence of life imprisonment on the former Rwandan businessman Yussuf Munyakazi, 75, if found guilty.

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‘'Munyakazi willfully participated in the demolitions of three churches at Nyamasheke, Mibilizi and Shangi parishes (former Cyangugu prefecture) where Tutsis who took refuge there were killed,' Prosecution Counsel Nigerian Segun Jegede,  urged the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) during his oral closing briefs.

The prosecution further claimed that Munyakazi, with little education, could not have organized such mass killings had it not been for his wealth which gave him audacity to implement the genocide plan.

The defence led by Tanzanian Professor Jwani Mwaikusa asked the Chamber to acquit his client unconditionally, saying that the accused had never been an Interahamwe leader nor participated in their activities as claimed by the prosecution.

He said the only nearest link the defendant ever had with the notorious militiamen was that in one of his rented house lived an interahamwe.

Meanwhile, the former Minister for Planning Augustin Ngirabatware was a "God" in his native district, according to a witness who testified on Monday.

Ngirabatware is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He has pleaded not guilty.

The Prosecutor alleges that he launched appeals to kill Tutsis during numerous meetings in his home region in 1994. Augustin Ngirabatware is also accused of delivering weapons to the Interahamwe militia and of using public funds to finance them.

Nicknamed Mbio-Mbio (Quick-Quick in Kiswahili), Ngirabatware hails from Nyamyumba commune, in the former prefecture of Gisenyi (north of Rwanda). He is the son-in-law of a wealthy businessman on the run, Felicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of the 1994 genocide.

"Mbio-Mbio was a very important person, he was God for Nyamyumba's inhabitants", said the witness code-named AN-AM to protect her identity.

The trial will continue on Monday.

In twists of events, a witness claimed Monday that a defence counsel attempted to corrupt him in order to give evidence in favour of his client Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of then Rwanda's ruling party MRND, jointly charged with two other top party officials of 1994 genocide.

 ‘'You dictated to me what to say and promised to give me 500 dollars...I agreed to sign,'' protected defence witness GAP told the attentive Chamber presided by Justice Dennis Byron.

The witness during re-examination by the accused's lead American defence counsel, Peter Robinson, alleged that they had struck a deal to give false testimony but he has decided to change his mind and say only the truth.

Other defendants in this trial include, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, former President of MRND and his Vice President, Edouard Karemera who has already completed his defence case.

The three-men are held responsible for their superior responsibility for the crimes allegedly committed by their subordinates.

The trial of businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga was this week mostly held in closed session. So far eleven witnesses have testified for the defence. The trial continues Monday.


© Hirondelle News Agency