ARUSHA - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will today render a historic judgment against four former senior Rwandan military officers, who include the alleged ‘mastermind’ of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis, Col. Theoneste Bagosora.
Bagosora, the former Director of Cabinet in the Ministry of Defence, was pinned by the Prosecution of having ordered the murder of ten Belgian peacekeepers and being the mastermind of the massacres.
Also in the trial commonly known as ‘Military 1’ are three other former high ranking officers of the former Rwandan army, who are all charged with multiple counts of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War crimes.
They include; Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi, the former head of the military operations (G-3), Major Aloys Ntabakuze, former commander of the elite Para Commando battalion and Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, the former commander of the operation sector of Gisenyi.
The trial began in 2002, and the ICTR Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, has requested the court to convict the accused on all the charges.
In his request, Jallow maintained that; “They prepared, planned, ordered, directed, incited, encouraged and approved the murder of innocent civilian Tutsis; men, women, children and others considered as accomplices”.
Later in the day, a judgment will also be made in the trial of Protais Zigiranyirazo, the brother-in-law of former President Juvenal Habyarimana and a member of the infamous ‘Akazu’ a network of influential people who the prosecutor alleges planned the Genocide.
The ‘Akazu’ was perceived to be an elite group of individuals, close friends and relatives of Habyarimana, and had immense political, military and financial power.
Zigiranyirazo is charged with five counts. These include; conspiracy to commit Genocide, Genocide, or alternatively, complicity in Genocide, and Crimes against Humanity (extermination and murder).
Meanwhile, many have described today’s judgment as ground breaking, and it has attracted a lot of international media attention.
The ICTR Spokesperson, Roland Amoussouga, told The New Times yesterday that the court room’s public gallery is likely to be filled with a large audience that will include foreign journalists.
“The Bagosora ‘Military 1’ is one of the landmark and historic cases of the ICTR because it involves the alleged mastermind of the 1994 Genocide. It is a ground-breaking judgment in the history of this court,” he said.
By press time yesterday, foreign journalists from Rwanda Television (RTV), the Cable News Network (CNN) and the German radio were getting accreditation from ICTR’s press office. Both judgments will be broadcast live via the ICTR satellite.