Arusha, 8 February 2008 (FH) - The Prosecution rested its case Thursday in the trial of Hormisdas Nsengimana, a Catholic Priest accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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In 1994, Nsengimana was the rector at the College of Christ the King in Nyanza, in southern Rwanda. He is prosecuted for massacres of ethnicTutsis around his school. He has pleaded not guilty.

In the trial, which began on 22 June 2007, the prosecutor called 19 witnesses. The defence will present its case beginning 2 June.

The prosecution team is lead by Wallace Kapaya (Tanzania). The defence, for its part, is headed by Emmanuel Altit (France) and David Hooper (United Kingdom).

Nsengimana, 54, was arrested in Cameroon on 21 March 2002.

He is one of the four catholic priests indicted by the ICTR. One of them, Athanase Seromba, vicar at the parish of Nyange, in western Rwanda, was sentenced to 15 years in prison late last year. He has appealed against the sentence

Emmanuel Rukundo, former military chaplain, is currently on trial at the ICTR. His trial began on 15 November 2006. The final arguments are scheduled for 20 February.

The fourth priest, Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, former vicar at the Holy Family Parish in Kigali will be tried in France, where he was arrested.

The ICTR, which must finish all of its first instance trials by the end of this year, plans to transfer cases that will still be pending to national courts.

In addition to Nsengimana, three other cases continued this week at the ICTR. They are Military II( which involves four officers including two chiefs of staff); Butare(which involves six defendants originating from this area of southern Rwanda, including a woman); and Government II (which involves four former Ministers).

The defence is presenting its case in the three trials.

In Military II, the former chief of staff of the gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, is presenting his witnesses; in Butare trial, the former Mayor of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi is presenting his defence; and in
Government II, the former Foreign Minister, Jerome Bicamumpaka is arguing his case.

Next week, Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho, prefect of Kigali in 1994 is expected to star presenting his closing arguments.

Arrested in September 2002 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Renzaho, 64, has been on trial since 8 January 2007.

© Hirondelle News Agency