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Arusha, February 9th 2007 (FH) - The trial of the ex-prefect of the town of Kigali, Tharcisse Renzaho, has reached its mid-term this week. The prosecutor has effectively called the totality of the witnesses named on his initial list.However, before the suspension of the proceedings last Wednesday, the prosecution senior attorney, Jonathan Moses (New Zealand), asked the court to allow him to present two more witnesses before closing officially his case.The trial chamber has to decide on the motion. One of the witnesses the prosecution requests is Alison Des Forges, an American historian and human rights activist who has already been heard in several other cases.The next session starts on March 2nd for the potential hearing of additional witnesses.Tharcisse Renzaho, 63, a former colonel in the former Rwandan Army, was Prefect of Kigali between October 1990 and July 1994.The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) tries him on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecutor alleges that Renzaho's office had become one of the operation centers of the genocide forces in 1994.The prosecutor has presented twenty-three witnesses since the trial started on January 8th.The defendant is represented by Mr. François Cantier (France); he pleads not guilty.The chamber wishes the defence would start calling its witnesses in May. Renzaho was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on September 29 2002.One week ago, the prosecutor closed his case in another trial, that of a former magistrate, Siméon Nshamihigo, accused of genocide crimes in the South-west of Rwanda.The trial of Nshamihigo, 47, started on September 25th 2006. Siméon Nshamihigo's defence counsels, Mr. Denis Turcotte and Mr. Henri Benoît (Canada), intend to call some forty witnesses. The prosecution team led by Alphonse Van (Ivory Coast) has presented twenty-four.When he was arrested on May 19 2001, Nshamihigo was working as an investigator in the defence team of an accused on trial before the ICTR.Five months after Nshamihigo, a second defence investigator was arrested: Joseph Nzabirinda Biroto.The latter will hear his sentence on February 23. On December 14 2006, Nzabirinda, 50, pleaded guilty to a crime against humanity. He has admitted he had been a witness of two murders committed in 1994. He acknowledged he had been an « approving spectator ».The prosecution and the defence have agreed and asked the judges to sentence him to a prison term ranging between five and eight years.This week, the proceedings in two joint trials have continued at the ICTR: in Butare (six accused) and Government II (four accused).In both cases, the defence is presenting its witnesses.In Butare, the defence is calling the witnesses in favor of the fourth defendant and in Government II, of the second one.The witnesses who have testified in Butare are those of the ex-prefect, Alphonse Nteziryayo. They have been heard behind closed doors for securityreasons.In Government II, the chamber has notably heard Dr. Helmut Strizek, a German political scientist and historian. Helmut Strizek worked in Rwandafrom 1980 and 1983 as economic consultant to the ex-European Economic Community (EEC).He later took charge of the Rwanda division of the German Ministry for Cooperation. In 1992, he defended a thesis in political science aboutRwanda and Burundi.Dr Strizek has already testified for the defence in both the Media Trial and Military I.AT/MG/PB© Hirondelle News Agency