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Arusha, March 16, 2007 (FH) - The United States is resolved to do all it can to apprehend those accused of genocide still at large and to bring them before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), an American diplomat explained after his visit to the Tribunal. In a communiqué published this week on the ICTR website a few days after the end of his visit to Arusha, the American Ambassador for War Crimes, Clint Williamson, affirmed that his country would do all in its power to arrest the fugitives so that they could be tried. The communiqué specifically cited the businessman Felicien Kabuga considered as “the financier” of the genocide as well as the former commander of the Presidential Guard, a unit which was very active in the massacres, Protais Mpiranya. Eighteen people are on the list of fugitives sent by the ICTR to all countries and to Interpol. Washington promised up to five million dollars to anyone who could give information which would allow for the arrest of these fugitives. “It is crucial that Felicien Kabuga, Protais Mpiranya and other fugitives understand that they cannot escape justice,” the communiqué indicated. The ICTR must finish all trials before the Trial Chamber in December 2008. Cases which will not have been finished will be transferred to national courts. The spokesperson for the prosecution, Timothee Gallimore, meanwhile recently declared that Kabuga, if arrested, would be judged by the ICTR. In other news, the trials this week at the ICTR have followed a less intense rhythm than usual. Monday, the prosecutor closed his case in the trial of Emannauel Rukundo, a Catholic priest accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. The facts which he is accused of were committed in the center of Rwanda in 1994. This former military chaplain, aged 48 years, has pleaded not guilty. His trial started November 15 of last year. At the end of its presentation, the prosecutor had just cited eighteen witnesses out of twenty-two initially envisioned. Two among them testified by videoconference. Rukundo will call defense witnesses starting this June 18. He has planned around thirty of them. This is the second Catholic priest who has appeared before the ICTR after Athanse Seromba, ex-vicar at the parish of Nyange (west), sentenced to fifteen years in prison last year. A third priest, the abbey Hormisdas Nsengimana, should next appear before judges. Rukundo was arrested in Geneva, Switzerland on July 12, 2001. He is defended by Ms. Aicha Conde (France). Four other trials are at the same phase as the Rukundo trial. They are that of the former prefect of the city of Kigali, Tharcisse Renzaho, that of the former musician Simon Bikindi, that of the former magistrate Simeon Nshamihigo, as well as four high grade officials in the former Rwandan army, two of which were former Chiefs of the General Staff. Since its creation in November 1994, the ICTR has already tried thirty three people. Five among them have been acquitted. Twenty seven accused are currently in trial while nine others are in provisional detention. This week, the Tribunal sat in the case of Protais Zigiranyirazo, a brother-in-law of former President Habyarimana, and in the Butare (south) trial, which concerns six accused including the only woman detained by the ICTR, the former Minister of the Family and Women’s Advancement, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. In both of them, the defense is presenting its witnesses. Debates were not heard the entire week, due to difficulties in bringing in witnesses. AT/PB/KD © Hirondelle News Agency