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Arusha, January 4th 2007 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will open the trial of the sixtieth defendant on January 8th. Tharcisse Renzaho, former prefect of Kigali, is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. This trial will be presided by Judge Erik Mose, President of the ICTR. It will also resume the activities of the ICTR after a three-week recess. Among the most important events in January are the appeal in the Media trial and probably the closing of the debates in Militaries I. On January 9th, the trial of Simeon Nshamihigo will be reopened. It started last year on September 25th. This session is supposed to last until February 9th and should allow the prosecution to go through the presentation of evidences. Until now, 7 witnesses have been heard; the prosecutor should present 18 or 20 more. From January 13th on, three French officers will testify in Militaries I, a trial which started in April 2002. These hearings, conducted via video conference from The Hague, should allow the defense to close the presentation of evidences for their clients. The Rwandan Minister of Defense, Marcel Gatsinzi, who worked as head of the Rwandan Army Staff at the time of the genocide, has also been called to testify. Militaries I was expected to be closed in December but in spite of all his efforts, Judge Mose did not manage to meet the schedule. The trial in appeal of the verdicts against Ferdinand Nahimana, Hassan Ngeze and Jean Bosco Barayagwiza in the trial called « Media » will take place between January 15th and 20th. The first two have been condemned to life and the third one to 35 years in prison. The verdict was issued in December 2003 at the conclusion of a three-year long trial. A witness will testify in the morning of the 16th and the closing arguments will begin the next day. Mika Muhimana, a former councillor sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005, will also appear before the appeals chamber on the 15th. The court will take the opportunity of his presence in Arusha to pronounce, on January 16th, its judgment in the case of Emmanuel Ndindabahizi. The ex-minister was condemned to life in detention in July 2004. The trial of Joseph Nzabirinda is also scheduled to begin on the 17th. After having accepted his guilty plea last December, the Chamber will now hear the arguments of the prosecution and the defense. Both parties have settled on a sentence ranging from 5 to 8 years but the Chamber is not complied to follow their recommendation. The oldest trial before the ICTR, « Butare », will resume on the 22nd. Heated debates can be expected now that the Chamber has asked the last three attorneys to conspicuously shorten their list of witnesses. After having let the first defendants’ presentation of evidences drag on, the ex-minister for Family Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Arsène Ntahobali, the chamber apparently wishes to speed up the debates and has declared that it intends to close the trial in July. PB/ER/MG/GF © Hirondelle News Agency