Brussels, 4 October 2007 (FH) - The Chamber of the Council of State of Belgium will rule on 12 October in closed session on the charges against Rwandan Ephrem Nkezabera, former influential member of the Interahamwe militia during the 1994 genocide, it was learned Wednesday by the Hirondelle agency from the federal prosecution.   

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"It has been three years that Mr. Nkezabera has been in prison; we are increasing the speed", stated the spokesperson of the federal prosecution, specifying however that a trial should not be expected before mid-2008.
Ephrem Nkezabera, 55, former official at the National Bank of Rwanda, member of the governing party 1994, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), was the president of the commission on economic and financial affairs within the national committee of the Interahamwe.
Wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and Rwanda, he was arrested in June 2004 in Belgium where he hid at his son's residence. He has since been held at the Forest prison in Brussels. This arrest had been the fruit of an agreement between the ICTR and the Belgian authorities. He had previously collaborated with the prosecutor in Arusha, it was learned from a reliable source at the ICTR.
The Chamber of the Council of State of Belgium, after having heard the parties, will deliberate to decide if the charges against Nkezabera are sufficient; if it is the case, it will proceed with a transfer to the indictment chamber which will decide on a trial.
According to his lawyer Gilles Vanderbeck, Ephrem Nkezabera accepts some of the charges. He faces "serious violations of international humanitarian law", according to the terms of the Belgian law of universal jurisdiction which makes it possible for the kingdom to consider crimes committed abroad. But neither the prosecution nor Mr. Vanderbeck wishes, for the moment, to give more details on these allegations.
Since his imprisonment, Nkezabera has testified twice before the Assizes Court of Brussels. He testified in 2005, at the trial of the businessmen from the Kibungo region, on the circuits mixing finance and politics in Rwanda. Then, at the trial of Major Ntuyahaga this year, he testified for the defence; but no one, not even the defence of the major, considered his testimony to be credible.
If the case results in, as it is probable, a trial, it would be the fourth in connection with the Rwandan genocide that Belgium would hold, after those of 2001, 2005 and 2007.
© Hirondelle News Agency