Arusha, 30 June 2008 (FH) – A Chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has warned the defence lawyers of genocide-accused Edouard Karemera, a former top ruling party official, for not conforming to orders of filing a list of their expected witnesses. “The Chamber, under the terms of Article 46 of the Rules (of Procedure and Evidence), warns the counsels of Karemera, Dior Diagne Mbaye and Félix Sow, for not conforming to orders”, the three-bench judges stated in their decision and availed to the Hirondelle Agency.

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On 18 June, the Chamber ordered the two Senegalese lawyers to file the following day the order of appearance of all of their witnesses. On 25 June, noting that the Karemera defence had not conformed to this decision, the Chamber ordered that this list be filed at the latest the following day.
However, to the dismay of the judges, to date the lawyers have not conformed to the orders. “Such behaviour constitutes an obstacle to the proceedings and is contrary to the interest of justice”, stated the judges, who once again ordered Karemera’s defence to “file at the latest (Monday) 30 June at noon (Arusha time) the order of appearance of all of the defence witnesses that it intends to call”.
Prosecuted for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, Karemera, the former vice-president of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), has pleaded not guilty. The other co-defendants are the former president of MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and the party’s former Secretary-General, Joseph Nzirorera
Suspended since mid-May, the trial is expected to resume next Monday with Karemera’s witnesses, first to present his defence case. According to Dior Diagne, Karemera’s lead counsel, approximately 65 witnesses are expected to appear for his client’s defence.
The proceedings started in September 2005, after a first trial was cancelled in the course of the proceedings because of an alleged “appearance of partiality” on the part of a judge.
The new trial is presided by Judge Dennis Byron, ICTR president, who has already hinted that the case may spill over to 2009.