06.09.07 - ICTR/RENZAHO - END OF THE DEFENCE CASE OF THE FORMER PREFECT OF THE RWANDAN CAPITAL

Arusha, 6 September 2007 (FH) - The former prefect of Kigali during the 1994 genocide, Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho, ended on Thursday morning his defence before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where he is on trial for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
1 min 32Approximate reading time

After the testimony of the last defence witness, the chamber, chaired by Norwegian Judge Erik Mose, scheduled for 14 and 15 February the presentation of the closing arguments. Known by the pseudonym TOA for safety reasons, the last defence witness, is a Tutsi who had taken refuge in 1994 in the Holy Family church (in Kigali), where, according to the prosecution, the former prefect would have encouraged the massacres of Tutsis and rapes of their daughters. TOA who said that he remained inside the church from 10 April to 4 July 1994, stated that the defendant had not arrived on the location on 17 June 1994 when Interahamwe militiamen attacked the church, resulting in several killed among the refugees. At the time of the cross-examination, the witness recognized that he could not, during his martyrdom, see what occurred around the church, but stressed that all that occurred in the church was told to him. TOA also testified that at the end of the genocide, he had ensured transport for people who were to be killed, according to him, by the army of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which had just taken control of the country. It was, he specified, "Interhamwe who had not fled or members of the MRND", the former single party. He finally stated to have been obligated to flee Rwanda in 2004, fearing for his safety, because, as he explained, four civil drivers witnesses, like him, of these post-genocide massacres, had been killed. The trial of Colonel Renzaho began on 8 January. The prosecution team, led by the New Zealander Jonathan Moses, rested its case on 6 March after having called 26 witnesses. For its part, the defence, led by François Cantier, of the Bar of Toulouse in France, called 27 witnesses, including the defendant. On the whole, the proceedings administered by Judge Erik Mose (Norway), assisted by Judge Rita Arrey (Cameroon) and Judge Sergei Egorov (Russian Federation), lasted 49 days Due to the dimension of the massacres in Kigali and the strategic importance of the city, this trial is regarded as one of the most important in the history of the ICTR. Colonel Renzaho was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on 29 September 2002

ER/PB/MM

 © Hirondelle News Agency