16.10.07 - RWANDA/BELGIUM - NKEZABERA'S FATE IS STILL UNKNOWN

  Brussels, 16 October 2007 (FH) - The chambre du conseil deferred last Friday sine die, following a motion for further enquiry, the pleadings and the examination of the prosecution's case against Ephrem Nkezabera, a former official of the Interahamwe militia implicated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
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The federal prosecution also confirmed, while refusing to comment on them, published information on the same day in the newspaper Le Soir according to which, for the first time, it intends to proceed charges for crimes of genocide and rape against an accused Rwandan in Belgium.
 
These charges are added to the crimes against humanitarian international law and war crimes retained against convicts of the three preceding "Rwanda trials".
 
The former 55-year old banker, held by Belgian authorities since 2004, has admitted his guilt. He recognizes his responsibility in the majority of the crimes which are charged against him for his role during the genocide which resulted, according to the UN, in 800 000 deaths, mostly Tutsis, between 6 April and 4 July 1994.
 
Ephrem Nkezabera was then president of the commission for economic and financial affairs within the national committee of the Interahamwe and a member of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), the presidential party in 1994.
 
The motion for further enquiry filed Friday morning relates to precise details concerning his role as an official of the Commercial Bank of Rwanda. It was filed by Luc Walleyn, who represents one of the two victim civil parties that have already been constituted.
 
The examining judge, Sylvania Verstreken, must answer within fifteen days to this request.
 
If she accepts or refuses, with then the possibility for the civil party concerned to appeal to the indictment chamber, legal sources close to the case estimate that it is not very probable that a new hearing is scheduled before December.
 
Three trials (in 2001, 2005 and 2007) related to the Rwandan genocide and having led to convictions have already been held in Belgium before the court of assizes of Brussels.
 
BF/PB/MM

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