Proceedings will continue in two joint trials and three cases involving a defendant each.
The joint trials are those of Butare, an area in the south of Rwanda, where six natives of that region, including a woman, face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity; and that of Edouard Karemera et al., the second vice-president of the former ruling party, accused alongside two of his colleagues.
The individual trials, as for them, relate to Tharcisse Renzaho, the former prefect of Kigali city, as well as the catholic priests Emmanuel Rukundo and Hormisdas Nsengimana.
The Butare trial is the oldest among those which are still ongoing at the ICTR. It started in June 2001. Currently, it is the fourth co-defendant who is presenting his defense.
The Karemera et al. trial, for its part, has been ongoing since September 2005. Karemera, who was appointed Minister of the Interior during the genocide, is being tried with the president of the Mouvement Républicain National pour la Democratie et le Développement (MRND), Matthieu Ngirumpatse, as well as the secretary-general of that party, Joseph Nzirorera.
Ngirumpatse is a former Minister of Justice, while Nzirorera, elected president of the interim national assembly in June 1994, had previously held several ministerial positions, which the most prestigious was that of public works.
This "complex" trial should continue beyond 31 December 2008, the date at which the ICTR mandate is due to end, according to the president of the tribunal, Judge Dennis Bryon.
Tharcisse Renzaho has been on trial since January 2007. Currently he is presenting his defence. The Prosecutor is accusing him of having organized massacres of Tutsis in his administrative region. He has pled not guilty.
Renzaho, a colonel in the former Rwandan army, was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in September 2002.
Led by French lawyer François Cantier, his defence team includes the Cameroonian lawyer Barnabe Nekuie, among others.
Father Emmanuel Rukundo, for his part, has been on trial since 15 November 2006. He was arrested in Switzerland in July 2001.
July 2007 should be devoted to his defence. Military chaplain in 1994, he faces charges for massacres committed in the center of the country. He also pleaded not guilty.
Father Hormidas Nsengimana, former director of the Christ-Roi (Christ the King) College in Nyanza (southern Rwanda) has been on trial since 22 June. The crimes which are reproached to him were committed in and around his school. He rejects the allegations in their entirety. He was arrested in Cameroon in April 2002. The Prosecutor is still presenting his case.
The ICTR has already tried another catholic priest, Father Athanase Seromba, who was a vicar at the parish of Nyange (western Rwanda). He was convicted to 15 years in prison in December 2006. His case is in appeal.
Two other men of the church, now deceased, were also accused. They were Adventist Pastor Elisaphan Ntakirutimana, who died last January little time after having completed his 10 year prison sentence, and Anglican Bishop Samuel Musabyimana, who died in preventative custody three years earlier.
© Hirondelle News Agency