Arusha, March 14, 2000(FH) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has asked to withdraw a second indictment against former Rwandan businessman Obed Rutzindana, who has already been convicted of genocide by a trial chamber of the ICTR. Ruzindana was tried with former prefect of Kibuye (western Rwanda) Clément Kayishema and sentenced last May to 25 years in prison.

1 minApproximate reading time

He has also been indicted along with three other people for a trial which has not yet started. However, the prosecution filed a request on March 10th asking that the charges against Ruzindana in the second indictment now be withdrawn. The prosecution says its request is founded in law and that it is in the interests of justice. The ICTR has not yet set a date for the hearing of the request. In the second indictment, Ruzindana is jointly accused with former Seventh Day Adventist preacher Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, his son the former doctor Gerald Ntakirutimana and the former mayor of Gishyita (Kibuye prefecture, western Rwanda) Charles Sikubwabo. They are accused of massacring Tutsis in Mugonero complex, which included a church, a hospital and an infirmary. Elizaphan Ntakirutimana is expected to be transferred shortly from the United States to the ICTR prison in Arusha, while his son is already in the UN jail. Sikubwabo is still on the run. Ruzindana, 38, was arrested in Kenya on September 20th, 1996 and transferred to Arusha two days later. He is represented by French lawyer Pascal Besnier and Willem van der Griend of the Netherlands. Both the prosecution and the defence have appealed the judgement against him. AT/JC/FH (RZ%0314e)