Arusha, 3 December 2007 (FH) - A Rwandan was sentenced Monday by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to nine months in prison for false testimony and contempt of the tribunal.

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This witness, known as GAA in order to protect his safety, admitted being incited to make a false testimony during the appeal trial of Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, the former Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research and Culture, which took place in May 2005. During this trial, he had reconsidered statements made during the first instance trial.

According to the indictment, amended and communicated to the press Tuesday morning, this false testimony would have been asked of him by a defence investigator, Mr. Leonidas Nshogoza. He would have promised him a million Rwandan francs (1 800 USD) after his false statements. Mr. Nshogoza did not testify, nor did the lawyer that directed this defence team.

Following several charges of false testimony during this trial, the chamber had requested an inquiry to be carried out independently of the ICTR services by an American prosecutor. Her report has remained confidential.

At the beginning of August 2007, GAA was imprisoned and indicted of false testimony and contempt of the tribunal. He had then admitted his guilt only for the first count of the indictment. On Monday morning, during a hearing scheduled at the last minute, he admitted his guilt for the two counts. Within the framework of an agreement between the defence and the prosecution, the two parties would have agreed on a maximum sentence of one year, reports a source close to the case. This information could, however, not be confirmed. He was facing a 10 000 dollar fine and 5 years in prison.

The investigator cited in the indicted, Leonidas Nshogoza, did not testify because he has been imprisoned in Rwanda since June. He is accused by the court of Gasabo of bribing a witness and minimizing the genocide, the prosecutor has asked for 10 years in prison but he was release on a purely provisional basis last weekend.

© Hirondelle News Agency