15.01.08 - ICTR/KAREMERA - EX-MRND BOSS EXPECTS TO CALL SEVEN TIMES MORE WITNESSES THAN PROSECUTION

Arusha, 15 January 2008 (FH) - Joseph Nzirorera, Secretary-General of then the Rwandan ruling party National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) and accused for 1994 genocide, plans to call in his defence seven times more witnesses than the prosecution.
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In the trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where Nzirorera is co-accused with the two his former colleagues-- former president of the MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and the former vice-president of the party, Edouard Karemera- is expected to line up 180 witnesses, according to the accused's counsel, Peter Robinson.

The prosecution which wound up presentation of its case in December, called 25 witnesses.

The American lawyer however did not give details of category of witnesses he plans to bring before the UN Court.

The defendants in the case, known as "Karemera Trial", have to complete their case by 3 March.

The first witness to testify for the defence is expected to be Karemera, to be followed by Ngirumpatse.

Nzirorera is expected to be the last in the testimony.

The president of the ICTR, Judge Dennis Byron, who presides this embattled case, has already hinted to the UN that the case may not be able to end by 31 December, the deadline for first instance trials.

The three men were initially prosecuted, in an annulled procedure, alongside the former minister of primary and secondary education, Andre Rwamakuba, now set free after his acquittal on 20 September 2006.

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