Arusha, 3 July 2008 (FH) — The trial of former Rector of Christ the King College, Hormisdas Nsengimana, on Wednesday was adjourned to early next week because of non-availability of defence witnesses, reports Hirondelle Agency. The 54-year-old clergy is accused of genocide, murder and extermination, crimes to which he has pleaded not guilty.

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So far 18 witnesses have testified for the defence out of the anticipated 29. Initially 62 witnesses were listed to appear for the defence of the suspect. The prosecution had presented 19 witnesses.
According to the accused’s lead Counsel, Emmanuel Altit, a protected witness is expected to appear before the court on Monday.
He told Hirondelle Agency that some witnesses fear to appear before the UN court over disclosure of their identities.” We are experiencing problems with witnesses because they fear that their identities will be disclosed,’’ he stressed.
The French lawyer also said that they may be able to bring maximum of seven witnesses by the close of their 30-trial days by next Friday after which the Chamber will make a site visit to Nyanza Church, southern Rwanda, the alleged spot of atrocities committed by the former boss of the Catholic college. The Chamber is scheduled to visit the site between 14 and 17 July.
On Wednesday, a Rwandan refugee from Congo-Brazzaville stated before the UN tribunal that Nsengimana preached brotherhood, and not hatred.
“He preached brotherhood, love and peace”, witness Emmanuel Hakizimana claimed. He denied prosecution allegations that the Hutu Catholic priest called, in his sermons, for hatred against ethnic Tutsis.
He also rejected the clergyman being politically implicated. “I shared daily life with him; I never noticed at his home any political activity”, stated Hakizimana.
He also disclosed to have been contacted in 2004 by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) who asked him to testify against the priest. “I answered that all the charges against Abbot Hormisdas were lies. I can not come to tell lies”, he claimed.
The prosecution accuses the priest that not only he ordered the massacres in 1994, but he himself killed an old Tutsi priest, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and several Tutsi women.
“Nsengimana was known for his hatred of Tutsis and of Tutsi priests who lived at the Christ the King College”, the indictment alleges.
The former Rector was arrested in Cameroon on 21 March 2002 and his trial opened on 22 June 2007. The trial is before judges Erik Mose of Norway (presiding), Sergei Egorov (Russia) and Florence Arrey (Cameroon)
Nsengimana is part of the three priests detained by the ICTR. The first among them to have appeared, Athanase Seromba, a former rural vicar, was sentenced to life in prison in appeal on 12 March. Seromba was sentenced to 15 years in prison in first instance trial. Father Emmanuel Rukundo, a former military chaplain in northern Rwanda, is awaiting his judgment.
Another Catholic priest accused by the ICTR, Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, will be tried in Paris, the United Nations tribunal declined jurisdiction over the case to the benefit of France.