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Arusha, 5 April 2007 (FH) – The activities go at a slow pace at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) during this week with only one trial in the calendar, during three days, the case of Protais Zigiranyirazo called “M.r Z”, aged 69, former prefect of Ruhengeri (North) and brother-in-law of the former President Juvénal Habyarimana. After the dismissal of two expertises last week, the Defence faced a new attack Wednesday with the allegation of pressure on an witness. The Tribunal ordered an inquest. In a request, the Prosecutor affirmed that the Defence of Zigiranyirazo had met a witness and had “encouraged” him to state in favour of his client. According to the Prosecutor, although the witness was near to accuse Zigiranyirazo of having actively participated in the massacres of Tutsis in a certain place called Kesho in the west of Rwanda, members of the Defence dissuaded him using threats. Mr. Z is defended by two Canadian lawyers: Mr. John Philpot and Mr. Peter Zaduk. The Defence declared that it was satisfied by the opening of an investigation, affirming that this witness has lied since he was imprisoned and convicted in Rwanda. Accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, Zigiranyirazo has been in trial since October 2005. He has pled not guilty. He has cited his witnesses since October 2006. Among the witnesses to be heard this week, is Lieutenant Aloys Ruyenzi, a renegade of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the former rebel movement currently in power in Kigali. In 1994, Ruyenzi was the bodyguard of Paul Kagame, the Chief Commandant of the RPF troops. The young officer took refuge in France. In his testimony, Ruyenzi notably accused Paul Kagame of having commissioned the attack against Habyarimana which triggered the genocide of Tutsis. Ruyenzi was one of the informants of the French anti-terrorist Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière who investigated the attack. Judge Bruguière concluded that the attack was the RPF’s work and issued warrants of arrest against nine associates of Paul Kagame and recommended the latter to be prosecuted by the ICTR. Kagame has refuted his conclusions. One week ago Rwanda itself announced the imminent opening of an investigation of the attack of 6 April 1994. The Defence of Mr. Z attempted to get the conclusions of the Judge Bruguière be admitted as evidence but the Chamber rejected this request. Before Ruyenzi, the Defence cited Major Emmanuel Neretse of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF). The main point of his statement was that Zigiranyirazo being a civilian could not have given orders to militaries, as alleged by the Prosecutor. According to Neretse, the only civilian authorities which could commandeer and give instructions to the armed forces were the Ministers of Defence or of Interior, the prefect or the burgomaster (mayor). Neretse indicated that as Mr. Z exercised no official function in 1994, “he had no possibility to have army units at his disposal”. Zigiranyirazo was a prefect until 1989. Afterwards, he became a businessman. Zigiranyirazo also cited one of his co-detained, the former prefect of Kigali town, Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho. The aim was to contradict the statement of a Prosecution’s witness. The Prosecutor however insisted on some facts evocated during the Renzaho case in order to make him, unconsciously, incriminate himself. Renzaho, who is awaited for his judgement, was not assisted by a lawyer. Finally regarding to the case law, an Accused before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia surprised in demanding for the translation of the Judgements rendered by the ICTR into Serbian in order to be used by him in his trial. Vojislav Seselj, a former politician accused of having created a militia which committed crimes in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1991 and 1995 notably requested the translation of the Judgement of 3 December 2003 concerning the three former responsible of the “hatred media” in special. If the ICTR is largely inspired by the ICTY case law, it is seldom that this sister court reciprocates. The judgement of media is a 361 pages document not counting the appendices. The ICTR needed three years to translate it from English to French. No translation in another language seems to be pending. In the media judgement, the Chamber notably noticed the “power of words”. The Serbian politician is accused of having killed using his words. AT/PB/CV © Hirondelle News Agency