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Trial of Alfred Musema starts

The trial of Mr. Alfred Musema, former director of Gisovu Tea Factory in Kibuye Prefecture, began today, Monday 25 January 1999. The Prosecution presented its opening arguments, linking the accused to the massacres of Tutsis in Kibuye, Rwanda, in 1994, and soon after the first Witness took the stand. The Defence opted not to present its opening argument at this stage as laid down in the Rules of Procedures and Evidence.

The Prosecution told Trial Chamber 1 composed of Judges Lennart Aspegren (presiding), Laïty Kama and Navanethem Pillay, that the Kibuye Prefecture including Gisovu and Gishyita Communes where Alfred Musema is alleged to have committed the crimes, had the largest population of Tutsis in Rwanda, but was left with only 3000 Tutsis at the end of the killings in July 1994.

The Senior Trial Attorney Jane Anywer Adong told the court that the Prosecution will prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was instrumental in the planning and implementation of the killings of Tutsis in the Prefecture: "At various locations and times throughout April, May and June 1994, and often in concert with others, Alfred Musema brought to the area of Bisesero armed individuals and directed them to attack the people seeking refuge there. In addition, at various locations and times, often in concert with others, Alfred Musema personally attacked and killed persons seeking refuge in Bisesero". She added that Musema was responsible for killing and causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the Tutsi population with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, that ethnic group.

The accused is charged with seven counts of Genocide (alternatively Complicity in Genocide), Conspiracy to Commit Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Serious Violations of Article 3 Common to the General Conventions and of Additional Protocol II thereof.

Mr. Musema was born on 22 August 1949 in Rutare commune, Byimba Prefecture, in Rwanda. He was arrested on 11 February 1995 in Switzerland and transferred to Arusha on 20 May 1997. He is defended by Counsel Steven Kay from the United Kingdom and Michail Wladimlroff from The Netherlands.

Among the visitors who attended the opening session of the trial today, was the Swiss Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms. Lise Favre, as well as the Attorney General of the Swiss Military Justice, Brigadier Deter Weber and other senior officials from Switzerland. The delegation also held talks with senior officials of the Tribunal.


Friday, 29 January 1999

Pre-sentencing hearing in the case of The Prosecutor vs Omar Serushago will be on 29 January 1999.

Omar Serushago pleaded guilty to genocide and other crimes during his initial appearance on 14 December 1998. The accused is the first leader of Interahamwe to plead guilty before the Tribunal.

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