Brussels, 18 June 2007 (FH) -The proceedings before the Crown Court trying the former Rwandan major, Bernard Ntuyahaga, accused, notably, of the killing of ten Belgian peacekeepers in Kigali on 7 April 1994, were completed Thursday.

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The final arguments, which were to begin Monday, were deferred by a week because of the emergency hospitalization, Sunday, of the President Karin Gerard, declared Judge Luc Maes, delegated by the first President of the Court of Appeal for this announcement.

Karin Gerard, 55, reportedly suffered an appendicitis. Contrary to the custom in a trial of this importance, no magistrate was designed to replace her.

Nearly 150 witnesses testified since 19 April before the Crown Court. 32 lawyers represent civil parties, among which figure the Rwandan state.

Bernard Ntuyahaga is also accused of having taken part in the assassination of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, and of Rwandan civilians in Kigali and Butare between 6 April and 5 July 1994.

The former officer of the Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF), defended by the Flemish lawyer Luc de Temmerman, always denied any participation in these events, qualifying the case, at the time of his testimony, as being "manipulated".

An international warrant for his arrest had been issued against him in 1995. After a long legal wrangle, initially with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) of Arusha, then in front of Tanzanian courts, Bernard Ntuyahaga wad finally transferred to Belgium in 2004 to be judged.

This is the third trial held in Belgium in relation to the Rwandan genocide, after the trial for the "Butare four" in 2001, which had inaugurated the use of the Belgian law known as of "universal jurisdiction", and that of "Kibungo" in 2005.

© Hirondelle News Agency