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Akayesu defence motions dismissed

The Tribunal's Trial Chamber 1 today dismissed two motions filed by the Defence on 30 December 1997 and heard last Friday 13 February 1998, in the trial of Jean Paul Akayesu. The motions sought: the issuance of subpoenas to former Prime Minister Mr Jean Kambanda and former Minister of Family Affairs Ms. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko (both indicted by the Tribunal and in custody at the Tribunal's detention facility in Arusha) to appear before the court to testify in this case; and the inspection of the site and for the conduct of a forensic analysis of three brothers the accused is alleged to have killed and/or ordered their killing in 1994.

In reaching its decision, the Tribunal considered that the testimony of the two accused detainees could prejudice their rights as accused persons before the Tribunal. Regarding the request for an inspection of the site and an exhumation of the three cardavas, the Tribunal considered that it was neither appropriate nor necessary for the proper determination of the case at this late stage of the judicial proceedings. It would be ineffectual, the Tribunal reasoned, for the three cardavas to be exhumed and a forensic analysis done now, almost four years after the alleged killings, especially as there were indications that exhumations had previously taken place at the mass graves.


General Kabiligi's Initial Appearance

Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi, a former senior officer in the Rwanda Armed Forces (RAF), today pleaded "not guilty" to five counts charging him with Genocide, Complicity in Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II.

He entered the plea during his initial appearance before Trial Chamber 2 composed of Judge William Sekule, presiding, and Judges Yakov Ostrovsky and Tafazzal Khan. The trial date will be fixed later.

General Kabiligi, who had the responsibility of planning, coordinating and ensuring the execution of military operations, is accused of being responsible for killing and causing serious bodily harm to members of the civilian Tutsi population. He is also alleged to have been involved in attacks and inhuman acts against a civilian population, on political, ethnic or racial grounds during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The accused was out of the country at the time the death of President Habyarimana on 6 April 1994. He was ordered back, and soon after arrival he is alleged to have, through his statements and acts, incited the lnterahamwe militiamen to murder Tutsi civilians.

He was born on 18 December 1951 in Cyangugu, Rwanda and was Chief of Military Operations (G-3) within the General Staff of the RAF during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

General Kabiligi, who is defended by Counsel Jean Degli from France, is jointly charged with Major Aloys Ntabakuze, a former Commander of the Para-Commando Battalion of the Rwanda Armed Forces, who pleaded "not guilty" during his initial appearance before the same Trial Chamber 2 on 24 October 1997. Both were arrested on 18 July 1997 in Nairobi, Kenya and transferred to Arusha on the same date.

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