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Trial of Musema ends

The trial of Alfred Musema, a former Director of Gisovu Tea Factory, accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity ended today with the Defence claiming that the Prosecution had failed to prove the case against the accused.

Mr. Steven Kay, Q.C., counsel for the accused, told Trial Chamber I, "The Defence challenges the case of the Prosecution on the following grounds (a) that the Prosecution has not discharged its burden of proving the defendant guilty; (b) that the Prosecution has not, through the evidence it has called, satisfied the Trial Chamber so that it felt sure of the guilt of the accused and (c) that the Prosecution has not rebutted the defence alibi".

The Prosecution had asked the Tribunal to impose the maximum sentence of imprisonment for life upon the accused. They argued that the accused is charged with cases of murder in seven counts. "All these murder cases are qualified by the intent to destroy the group of the Tutsi, and the cold-bloodedness with which they were committed," the Prosecution said.

The Musema Trial began on 25 January 1999, and is the first case to benefit from an application of the changes to the Tribunal’s procedures adopted by the Fifth Plenary Session held in June 1998 and designed to accelerate the pace of trials at the Tribunal.

Musema is alleged to have planned and participated in the killings of Tutsi men, women and children and, in concert with others, raped and killed women in the area of Bisesero in Gisovu and Gishyita Communes, Kibuye Prefecture. He was arrested in Switzerland and on 6 May 1999 pleaded not guilty to three new charges of rape included in the amended indictment he had initially been served with.

No date has been fixed yet for the delivery of the judgement in this case.

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