Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today denied motions filed by the Defence teams for the complete acquittal of Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, Ferdinand Nahimana and Hassan Ngeze, in what is known as “The Media Case”. However it acquitted Nahimana on one count and Barayagwiza on three counts.
Both Nahimana and Barayagwiza were acquitted on counts of crimes against humanity for murder. In addition Barayagwiza was acquitted of two counts of serious violations of the Geneva Conventions for outrages against personal dignity and pillage
The Prosecution had conceded that no evidence was adduced in relation to the counts of crimes against humanity for murder. It had also moved to have the counts of which
the accused were acquitted withdrawn, saying it did not intend to pursue them further.
The Defence had filed motions submitting that the Prosecution had failed to set out a sufficient case to sustain a conviction of the accused persons on any of the counts, which they faced. Following the failure of those motions the Trial will now proceed with the hearing of evidence on behalf of the accused. Nahimana is expected to begin testifying in his own defence after a status conference, which began today.
The remaining charges against the three accused include conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide. The accused persons, now left with six counts each, are also charged with crimes against humanity for persecution and extermination.
The trial is being heard by Judges Navanethem Pillay (South Africa), presiding, Erik Møse (Norway) and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana (Sri Lanka).