10.08.07 - ICTR/KAREMERA - THE DEFENCE HAS NO LINK WITH A PERSON ACCUSED OF INFLUENCING A WITNESS

Arusha, 10 August 2007 (FH) - The defence of the former politician Joseph Nzirorera does not have any connection with an individual accused in Rwanda of having influenced a witness for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), it declared Friday.
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The Rwandan daily newspaper The New Times had reported in its 7 August edition that a certain Elias Kanyabitaro had appeared before a court in the north of the country accused of having paid money to Immaculée Uwayezu, who would have been called in the trial of Nzirorera, presently ongoing before the ICTR.

Former secretary-general of the former ruling party in Rwanda, Nzirorera is being tried with two of his party colleagues, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, the president, and Edouard Karemera, the vice-president.

"No one on our defence team has ever heard of Elias Kanyabitaro", reacted Nzirorera's lead counsel, Peter Robinson (United States), in an email addressed to the Hirondelle News Agency.

" The person he is alleged to have corrupted, Immaculee Uwayezu, has never been a witness in Nzirorera's case. We have never heard of her either", continued Robinson.

The American lawyer "would appreciate it if you would make that known so that our defence team is not unfairly associated with these events".

Kanyarutaro rejected all the allegations against him. The verdict will be rendered on 31 August.

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© Hirondelle News Agency