Arusha, 3 July 2008 (FH) - The Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) trying six persons accused of having helped the genocide in Butare ,southern Rwanda, has limited the lawyer’s final trial briefs to 200 pages and gave them only six weeks to produce them. The prosecutor will, for his part, have 400 pages to expose his arguments.

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The parties will have 45 days to produce these documents at the conclusion of the presentation of all the evidence.
This trial involves a former minister, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, her son, Arsene Ntahobali, two former Governors and two former Mayors began on 12 June 2001 and is presided by Judge William Sekule.
This is the longest and the largest trial. By Thursday, it had reached its 670th day of hearings.
The last defendant Elie Ndayambaje called his 13th witness from a list of 30. According to Pierre Boulé, the lawyer of this former mayor, this unexpected decision of Judge Sekule shows that the Chamber was trying to end the proceedings before the end of the year.
The Tribunal received from the United Nations Security Council the order to end its first instance trial by the end of this year. Unable to do so because of the many defendants waiting for their trials, the Tribunal has asked for a one year’s extension.
According to Nicole Bergevin, Nyiramasuhuko’s main lawyer, the principle of “audit alteram partem” (the right to be heard) is not respected. “It is not the title of a song”, she added regretting a “lack of consideration” for the parties.
Of the dozen of trials which have been at the ICTR since 1977, the size of the final trial briefs has been very different.
The bulkiest was the prosecutor’s brief in the Military I case which was 999 pages and which the Chamber has been working on for more than a year in order to render its judgment. The thinnest was against Colonel Aloys Simba at 94 pages which led to his conviction to 25 years in prison.
In regards to the defence, the wordiest until now have been Ferdinand Nahimana’ lawyers (437 pages), who could not prevent him from being sentenced to life in prison, a sentenced reduced in appeal to 30 years. The shortest were Jean Mpambara’s defenders who on 77 pages obtained his acquittal.