Arusha, 4 July, 2008 (FH) — In a move to harmonise policy and widen basic human rights, the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has now allowed conjugal rights for detained and convicted persons. “Since May new policy authorizing conjugal visits has been adopted by the Registry as part of harmonization of the policy matters between ICTR and the ICTY,’’ according to Roland Amoussouga, spokesman of the UN Court.

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There are a total of 56 detainees at the Special UN Detention Facility, including 18 convicted persons awaiting host countries, reports Hirondelle Agency.
The move has been under consideration since the Chamber’s decision of late September 2005 to deny convicted Hassan Ngeze, ex-editor of Kangura newspaper, to a right to get married at the ICTR premises (and thereafter conjugal visits) .
Mr Amoussouga said the conjugal visits are exercised within set out regulations under the rules of detention and any breach of the norms would mean automatic denial of any such future visits.
A witness this week claimed that Rwandan Reconnaissance Battalion was never involved in the killings of ten UN peacekeepers from Belgium during the 1994 genocide.
‘’The reconnaissance soldiers never participated in the 1994 genocide’’, the protected witness, code named “K4’’ for his own safety, said in the Examination-in- Chief for the defence of Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, former Commander of Rwandan Reconnaissance Battalion, who is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, alongside three other senior army officers in the joint trial, known as “Military II’’. The witness was a former member of the elite brigade. Two defendants in the trial -- former Chiefs of Staff of Gendarmerie and that of the Army, Generals Augustin Ndindiliyimana and Augustin Bizimungu respectively—have already concluded their defence.
The forth accused, Major Nzuwonemeye’s Deputy Commander, Captain Innocent Sagahutu, has not yet started his defence. The accused have pleaded not guilty. The trial began in September 2004.
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.
The 54-year-old clergy is accused of genocide, murder and extermination, crimes to which he has pleaded not guilty. 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.
The prosecution case against Callixte Kalimanzira, a former high ranking government official, rested Monday without the last witness testifying.
Kalimanzira, acting Minister for Interior during the 1994 genocide, is accused of three counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. He has pleaded not guilty. The trial, which began on 5 May, is expected to resume in November although no exact date was fixed during the brief status conference held Monday morning.
The hearing of the guilty plea motion of the former Rwandan tea authority boss Mitchel Bagaragaza which was planned for Friday has been shelved until at a later stage. Bagaragaza is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity.
He was returned to Arusha after failure by Norway and Dutch courts to have him tried because of lack of law of genocide crime.