Arusha, 18 July, 2008 (FH) – All three Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) have closed-down temporarily and several cases adjourned to mid next month because of mid-year judicial recess beginning this week. According to the ICTR Spokesman, Roland Amoussouga, the trials would resume on 18 August.

1 min 52Approximate reading time

Before adjournment, six cases, involving 19 accused, were tackled by the UN court, trying key suspects of the 1994 genocide.
During the first half of the judicial calendar in 2007 the tribunal worked for a total of 2,237 hours whereas during the same period, this year, it utilised 1,847 hours, reflecting about 17% less than the previous year.
Regarding the trial involving the former acting Interior Minister during the genocide, Callixte Kalimanzira, both parties, the prosecution and defence, have concluded presenting their evidence. Dates for filing closing briefs are yet to be announced.
This session also heard the defence case against the former Director of Christ the King College, Priest Hormisdas Nsengimana. Trial Chamber I shifted the case this week to the alleged site of crimes committed by the suspect in Nyanza Parish, south Rwanda . The trial is expected to resume by hearing two pending defence witnesses scheduled for September 15 and 16, 2008.
Three joint trials will continue with the hearing of the defence case next month--the so called Butare Trial, with six accused persons, Military II, involving four former senior Rwandan army officers, and that of three top former political leaders of the ruling MRMD party in Rwanda.
In the Butare case, the last accused, Elie Ndayambaje, former Mayor of Muganza commune, will continue with his defence case. He has already presented seven witnesses for his defence out of the scheduled 30.
Other accused in the trial are former Rwandan Minister of Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali; two former governors, Alphonse Nteziryayo and Sylvester Nsabimana; and another former Mayor of Ngoma commune, Joseph Kanyabashi.
In Military II trial, Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, former Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion will continue with defence case. A total of 19 witnesses have already testified for him. Next to start the defence case will be his Deputy Commander, Captain Innocent Sagahutu.
Other defendants in the case who had already presented their cases are former Chiefs of Staff of Army, General Augustin Bizimungu and that of the Gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana.
And in the case of three former leaders of MRND, it is the accused Edouard Karemera, former Vice President of MRND, who will continue defending himself before the Chamber. He has already fielded seven witnesses out of expected 65.
Other accused in the trial are Mathieu Ngirumpatse, former president of MRND, and his Secretary General, Joseph Nzirorera, who are yet to take to the witness stand.
At the resumption, the trial of four former Rwandan ministers known as “Government II Trial”, the prosecution expects to present its closing briefs not later than October 1, 2008 and the defence before November 10, 2008.
The defendants in the case are Casimir Bizimungu (Health), Jerome Bicamumpaka (Foreign), Justin Mugenzi (Commerce) and Proper Mugiraneza( Civil Service).