Arusha, 30 April 2008 (FH) - The trial of Callixte Kalimanzira, a former high ranking Rwandan civil servant accused of 1994 genocide, will begin on 5 May, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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The decision was announced during a status conference in the case presided by Judge Dennis Byron (Saint-Kitts and Nevis), who is also president of the ICTR.

This trial was scheduled to have opened last Monday, but it was deferred because of the difficulties in the composition of the Chamber.

Kalimanzira, 55, an agronomist by training, was director of the rural development section at the presidency , secretary-general and then, cabinet director at the ministry of the interior. From April to May 1994, he directed the ministry of the interior on interim basis.

The defendant surrendered himself on 8 November 2005 to the ICTR, which had indicted him four months earlier. The conditions of his arrest remain obscure.

The prosecutor affirms that he was "very close" to the then interim President Theodore Sindikubwabo as well as Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, originating, like him, from the prefecture of Butare, in southern Rwanda.

Kalimanzira is accused of having supervised attacks against Tutsis on Kabuye hill around 23 April 1994.

According to the prosecutor, the defendant, before the attack, encouraged the victims, estimated at more than 20, 000 to take refuge on the hill, by promising them protection and food.

Around 5 June 1994, Kalimanzira, who has pleaded not guilty, invited the population to eliminate Tutsis, including those who were still in the uterus of their mothers.

Since its creation, the ICTR has tried 35 people while 27 others are currently on trial. It must finish its first instance trials by 31 December 2008 as directed by the Security Council.

The last trial to have been open is that of Abbot Hormisdas Nsengimana, a former vice-chancellor of the Christ the King College in Nyanza, southern Rwanda, on 22 June 2007.

Seven people, detained in Arusha, are still waiting to be tried. Three others are detained in Europe and 13 are still at large.


© Hirondelle News Agency