Arusha, 11 July 2008 (FH) - The defence case of Callixte Kalimanzira, a former high ranking official of the Rwandan administration accused of genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), is scheduled for 17 November, reports Hirondelle Agency. Kalimanzira, an agronomist by training, was acting minister for Interior during the 1994 genocide.

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The prosecution completed its month long case started on 30 June after presenting 24 witnesses in total of 16 days of hearing.

The accused, healing from Butare, southern Rwanda, has pleaded not guilty, to three counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

He is alleged to have played a role in the massacre of thousands of ethnic Tutsis who had sought refuge on Kabuye hill, in the sub-prefecture of Gisagara (prefecture of Butare) towards the end of April 1994.

“The Tutsi refugees came to him, asked him for help, but instead he encouraged the attackers to continue the massacre”, claimed trial attorney Christine Graham (Sweden) at the opening of the trial.

Perpetrated by soldiers, Interahamwe militiamen and Burundian refugees, the Kabuye massacres lasted several days, according to the prosecution.

In the prefecture of Butare, the genocide started only towards the end April 1994 after a public meeting in which several members of the interim government participated, including acting President Theodore Sindikubwabo
and Prime Minister Jean Kambanda.

Kalimanzira was also an influential member of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), the then presidential party.

On 8 November 2005, he surrendered voluntarily to the ICTR, in Arusha, Tanzania.

The trial is presided by Judge Dennis Byron, who is also President of ICTR. Other bench judges are Gustav Kam and Vagn Joensen.