14.09.07 - ICTR/GOVERNEMENT II - THE DEFENCE OF THE FORMER HEAD OF RWANDAN DIPLOMACY

14.09.07 - ICTR/GOVERNEMENT II - THE DEFENCE OF THE FORMER HEAD OF RWANDAN DIPLOMACY RESTARTS ON MONDAY

Arusha, 14 September 2007 (FH) - The defence for Jerome Bicamumpaka, Foreign Minister in the temporary government in place during the 1994 genocide, will restart next Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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The proceedings have been suspended since 16 August because of the death of the principal defence counsel, Canadian Pierre Gaudreau.

The testimony of Bicamumpaka had just started.

The former minister intends to call around 25 defence witnesses, including the ambassadors of France and Belgium in post in Rwanda in 1994, respectively Jean-Michel Marlaud and Johann Swinnen.

His lawyers filed motions asking the judges to order the co-operation of Paris and Brussels. The chamber has not ruled yet.

Bicamumpaka is being tried alongside the former Minister of Health, Casimir Bizimungu, the Minister of Trade, Justin Mugenzi and the Minister of Civil Service, Prosper Mugiraneza. Their trial, known under the name of "Government II", began on 6 November 2003

Accused of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, the four have pled not guilty. Bicamumpaka is the third of the group to present his defence case, after Mugenzi and Bizimungu.

Based in Arusha, in northern Tanzania, the ICTR has to date convicted 28 persons and acquitted 5 others.

ER/PB/MM
© Hirondelle News Agency