Arusha, July 10, 2000 (FH) - The defence counsel for Rwandan genocide suspect Arsène Shalom Ntahobali on Monday asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to order removal of the conspiracy charge against his client. "The conspiracy charge should not be in the indictment because it is not supported by a single piece of evidence," Canadian lawyer René Saint Léger told the court.

1 min 6Approximate reading time

"It does not tell us how, when or where Ntahobali took part in any conspiracy. "Ntahobali is accused of conspiring to commit genocide. He has been indicted jointly with his mother, who was Minister of Family Affairs during the 1994 mass killings of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. These two are to be tried along with four other members of the so-called "Butare group": former mayors of Butare Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo, former mayor of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi, and former mayor of Muganza Elie Ndayambaje. All six are accused of crimes in the Butare region of southern Rwanda. Saint Léger pointed out inconsistencies in the indictment, saying it referred to his client "sometimes as a student [. . . ], sometimes as a businessman, and sometimes as a leader of the Interahamwe militia". "Where, when and how did he become such a thing?" the lawyer asked. Tanzanian prosecutor Japhet Mono argued that the evidence would be presented at a later stage and that "my colleague should wait for the start of trial [. . . ]. The evidence will speak for itself. " Japhet then admitted, however, that further investigations would be necessary in order to provide the necessary clarification. Judges of Trial Chamber Two are now deliberating on the matter. The Chamber is composed of Judge Laity Kama of Senegal presiding, Judge William Sekule of Tanzania and Judge Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. CR/JC/FH (BT%0710e)