End of the officers' trial: 13 years later, what proof?

21 May 2007 by Thierry Cruvellier and our correspondent in Arusha

From May 28 to June 1, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will hear closing arguments from the Prosecutor and defense in its most important trial - that involving Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, the former Chef de Cabinet at the Ministry of Defense and the presumed architect of the 1994 genocide. The trial has centered around allegations that Bagosora led a conspiracy that planned the genocide well in advance of the killings. Now, after twelve years of investigation and more than five years of trial, what do we actually know?

"Your chamber opens the trial of four men who must answer for crimes committed in Rwanda whose gravity shocked the human conscience. They plunge all of humanity into mourning" because they "affect that which is the most sacred," said Carla del Ponte on April 2, 2002 at the opening of a trial, which the international community had been waiting for since the ICTR's creation seven years earlier. Bagosora was accused with three other highranking members of the former Rwandan Armed Forces. "The Tutsis were the victims of a horrifying plan whose goal was their complete destruction. The people who perpetrated this violence are their own compatriots. Some of the accusations against them are appalling in their violence and cruelty. Others reveal a plan, organization, coldly calculated acts," continued the Chief Prosecutor. "The question that remains to be answered is: Who is responsible for these nearly one million deaths in a few months?"

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