1 min 40Approximate reading time

Arusha, April 25, 2007 (FH) – The defense for Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary-General of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) hopes that the eventual third judge takes the time to “carefully” familiarize himself with the voluminous file for his trial, after the reopening of hearings.
The withdrawal last January of the Ghanaian judge Emile Francis Short sparked a sine die postponement in this trial known as “Karemera” in which Nzirorera appears with the president of the former presidential party, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and the vice-president of the party, Edouard Karemara.
Last Friday, the Appeals Chamber confirmed the decision of the two remaining judges, Dennis Byron of Saint Kitts and Nevis and the Burkinabe Gustave Kam, to continue the trial with a substitute judge.  In this trial which has gone on since September, 2005, more than a hundred days of hearing have occurred during which the prosecution has presented 13 witnesses out of the hundred it has scheduled.
In a request which opened by a polite welcome wish, Mr. Peter Robinson, Nzirorera’s chief American counsel, called on the future third judge who must still be designated by the President of the Tribunal “to carefully study the video recordings of each of the 13 prosecution witnesses, as well as the direct examination and cross-examination.”  Around 600 hours of recording have already taken place, which accounts for 4 scheduled months of 40 hours per week.  For written statements, one day of hearings is about 80 transcript pages, which mathematically adds up to around 8,000 pages.
Mr. Robinson also asked to the new judge to consult, when viewing the recordings, the prosecution’s evidence in the order they were presented, as per the request dated Tuesday.  At the beginning of the trial, a recommendation was made by the Chamber to give special attention to witnesses testifying anonymously.
To make his task easier, the defense lawyer attached to his request annexes in which he gave the history of the trial since the confirmation in April 1998 of the first indictment implicating eight figures including the three MRND leaders.
The lawyer also addressed, still concerning the judge, the inventory of the numerous decisions made in the trial since then, and invited the judge to also read these carefully before declaring himself ready to sit for the continuation of the trial.  The date for the hearings to recommence has not been set.
The trial substantively started in September 2005 after the cancellation of a first trial in which the three MRND figures were prosecuted with another defendant.
Prosecuted for crimes against humanity and war crimes, Ngirumpatse, Nzirorera and Karemera have pleaded not-guilty.
© Hirondelle News Agency