30.10.07 - ICTR/BUTARE - A CONFLICT OF INTEREST IS LIKELY TO FURTHER SLOW DOWN THE "BUTARE" CASE

 Arusha, 30 October 2007 (FH) - The quasi-permanent conflict of interest which opposes some defendants in the trial known as of Butare, in progress before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), rebounded Tuesday at the request of Shalom Ntabohali to limit the testimonies of the next three defence witnesses of the former Mayor of Ngoma (southern Rwanda), Joseph Kanyabashi.   
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"We learned with surprise only 11 days ago that these three witnesses were going to evoke facts relative to our client; in certain cases, new facts" incriminating Ntahobali, argued Bertrand Saint Arnaud, in a motion of more than half an hour.
 
"The defence team of Mr. Kanyabashi should not be authorized to ask (to these witnesses) questions referring to Ntahobali", requested the Canadian lawyer.
 
Sometimes the strategy of Kanyabashi's defence, former member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), accuses sometimes not only Ntahobali, but also his mother, the former Minister for the Family and Women's Development, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who came from the presidential party, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND).
 
The prosecutor alleges that Ntahobali was also a member of the MRND, which the defendant denies.
 
According to practice at the ICTR, each party, after having met a potential witness, makes a summary of the meeting and notifies the other parties.
 
However, Saint Arnaud pointed out, in the summaries transmitted by the Kanyabashi defence in December 2004, these witnesses do not mention Ntahobali who, like his mother, already rested his case.
 
At the end of the day, the chamber had not yet rendered its decision.
 
This trial known as of "Butare", the name of the prefecture that the defendants originate from, also involves the former prefects, Alphonse Nteziryayo and Sylvain Nsabimana and the former Mayor of Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje. The six, accused of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, have pleaded not guilty. Their trial, renowned for its slowness, began in June 2001.
 
ER/PB/MM

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