Arusha, 15 June 2007 (FH) - The Karemera trial, which concerns three former leaders of the former Rwandan presidential party, started again Wednesday after a six months recess due to the recusal of one of the three judges.   

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From the start, the presiding Judge, Dennys Byron, warned the Prosecutor for the delays taken in the presentation of his evidence. Since the beginning of the trial in September 2005, only 13 witnesses have been called, he regretted. The proceedings will continue in spite of the absence next week of Judge Byron who must go to New York for the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The defendants are the former president of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), Mathieu Ngirumpatse, the former Vice-President, Edouard Karemera, and the former Secretary-General, Joseph Nzirorera.
Another trial, Government II, suspended its proceedings on Tuesday after the testimony of the 22nd witness for the defense of Casimir Bizimungu, former Minister of Health. The proceedings will restart on August 13.
In the Butare case, which celebrated its sixth anniversary on Monday, it is Alphonse Nteziryayo, former prefect of Butare, who is trying to convince the judges of his innocence. After him, it will be the turn of the former mayors Joseph Kanyabashi and Elie Ndayambaje to present their cases.
In Military II, which the proceedings have lasted for 250 days, the proceedings continue with the presentation of the defense of the General Augustin Bizimungu, former Chief-of-Staff of the Army.
But this week was especially marked by the first speech of the new President. Before going to New York to present next Monday the assessment and the prospects of the ICTR, Judge Byron stated before the gathered personnel that the Tribunal still had work to do. He said that the Tribunal "will be accomplished when we arrive at the goal which was fixed to us, to establish the innocence or the guilt of the defendants, to return justice to the victims of the massive crimes that were committed and to establish the facts in order to help with reconciliation in Rwanda". He still has to convince the donors and the Security Council.
At this meeting which was retransmitted on line in Kigali and The Hague, the Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, for his part, announced that the first transfer of a defendant towards Rwanda was "on track". This request, carried out in accordance with article 11bis of the Rules, concerns an accused at large, Fulgence Kayishema, former legal police detective in the area of Kibuye. Jallow also announced a double request for the transfer towards another country, but the identity of the concerned accused was not yet known on Friday afternoon.

© Hirondelle News Agency