Montreal, 27 February 2008 (FH) - Large parts of testimonies presented by the defence of Desire Munyanenza, Rwandan on trial in Canada since March 2007 for war crimes and genocide, will not be considered by the judge because they are not relevant, according to reports from Canada.

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The defence started its case only six weeks ago, but the Crown is already irritated, which itself needed almost eight months to present its case.

Thus, to present a mountain of secondary information, as the lawyers of Mr. Munyaneza are doing, constitutes "a recipe for a trial that will last eight years", said in court Richard Roy, suggesting to Judge Andre Denis to determine clear judicial boundaries.

"I already see large parts of testimonies which I will not be considered because they are not relevant", the magistrate admitted, refusing however to answer favourably to the Crown's request.

The judge of the Superior Court of Quebec made these remarks as Felix Flavien Lizinde Mugabushaka, former soldier of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF, former party of President Kagame), was called to the stand.

On 5 July 1994, Mr Mugabushaka left Kigali for Butare, where he learned that his two sisters, his two uncles and his cousins were killed.

He then undertook an intense search in order to understand the atrocities which were committed in this city of southern Rwanda. "I asked approximately ten people what had happened in Butare and nobody told me about him (Desire Munyaneza)", said the witness.

Following that, Richard Perras, one of Munyaneza's lawyers, lengthily questioned Mr Mugabushaka on events without a direct relationship to the facts charged to the defendant, such as the deployment of the RPF on the border of Uganda and Rwanda.

"I am far from being certain that it is relevant", noticed Judge Denis.

Since the defence started its case, rare have been the witnesses who could describe long moments spent at the side of Munyaneza during the four months of the genocide.

The trial continues in Montreal until mid-April, before moving to Rwanda and then to Tanzania.

© Hirondelle News Agency