Arusha, 22 October 2007 (FH) - The lawyers of three former politicians stated Monday at the resumption of the proceedings of the "Karemera" trial that they are facing "a trial of ambushes" and requested that the prosecutor be sanctioned for repeated violations of the rules, Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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Alleging the refusal of the prosecutor to communicate some of the evidence to the defence, Felix Sow (Senegal), the lawyer of the vice-president of the former governing party, Edouard Karemera, explained that "they give what benefits them and withhold what hinders them". "It is a trial of ambushes. They are baiting us, they are waiting for us ", he deplored.

Edouard Karemera is on trial alongside Matthieu Ngirumpatse and Joseph Nzirorera, respectively president and secretary-general of the former governing party in Rwanda, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND). The Ngirumpatse's lawyer,
Chantal Hounkpatin (France) added that "this way of proceeding brings shame to justice".

It is Peter Robinson (United States), Nzirorera's lawyer, who was the most severe by requesting that the trial be stopped or that the head of the prosecution in this case, Don Webster (United States), be excluded from the courtroom.

Robinson, who stated that it was the fourth time that the prosecutor had violated the rules, reminded that he had been on several occasions warned by the first instance chamber and the appeals chamber.

In one occasion, the first instance chamber had sanctioned Don Webster and had stressed that the sanction also applied to the prosecutor, Bubacar Hasan Jallow (Gambia).

"In light of many violations, I suggest that the chamber do something so that we have a trial which has sense", argued Robinson.

Don Webster, for his part, minimized these allegations and indicated that he communicated relevant documents and, especially, that he protected the confidentiality of information in his possession.

The judges announced that they will render a decision later on.

This trial began on 19 September 2005 and proceeds before the chamber presided by Judge Dennys Bryon, who is also ICTR president.

The prosecutor should rest his case in March 2008 and the defence in the first quarter of 2009.

© Hirondelle News Agency