Arusha, 13 June, 2008(FH) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Jallow, has confirmed of the alleged atrocities committed by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) during the 1994 genocide, and four soldiers have already been arrested in Rwanda in the connection and are to appear before a Kigali court soon.

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The alleged RPF atrocities was disclosed at the UN Security Council meeting in New York

Mr Jallow also told a press conference on Thursday that he had legal powers to retract the trial of the soldiers (one Brigadier-General, a Major and two Captains) if it was deemed that the case was not conducted in a transparent manner. The soldiers are alleged to have killed 13 clergymen on 5 June in Kabgayi, Muhanga district, central Rwanda.

"The Rwandan government asked to be given an opportunity to prosecute the case," Justice Jallow disclosed, adding that he agreed with the hope that it would be conducted in a manner which would bring reconciliation in Rwanda.

The five-year-long trial of Government II made up of four former Rwandan ministers wound-up on Thursday after defence completed its case by calling a total of 114 witnesses.

The accused in the trial, who have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity, are: ex-Foreign Affairs Minister Jerome Bicamumpaka Casimir Bizimungu; former Minister for Health, Justin Mugenzi, ex-Minister for Commerce and Prosper Mugiraneza, former Minister for Civil Service.

The prosecution closed its case on June 23, 2005 after fielding 57 witnesses. The trial judges are Khalida Khan of Pakistan (presiding), Lee Muthoga (Kenya) and Francis Short (Ghana).

Three other trials continued during the week. The so called "Military II Trial" continued with the defence testimony of former Rwandan Chief of Gendarmerie, Augustin Ndindiliyimana. The former head of the Belgian military cooperation in Rwanda, Colonel Andre Vincent,Tuesday described the former Chief of Staff of Gendarmerie as person who sought for national reconciliation through the application of Arusha Accord and dismissed the accused's implication in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The two others in the joint trial are Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, former commander of the reconnaissance battalion, and Captain Innocent Sagahutu, who commanded a company of this elite battalion.

Accused of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, all four have pleaded not guilty. Ndindiliyimana is the second to call his witnesses, after Bizimungu. This trial, one of most important in the history of the ICTR, started in September 2004.

The former Mayor of Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje, continued with his defence testimony in the longest and the largest trial the so called "Butare Trial" of six accused persons. The trial started in 2001. The trial is expected to spill over to 2009.

Hormisdas Nsengimana, the third Catholic Priest to appear before the UN tribunal continued with his defence case.

Director of the Christ the King College in Nyanza ,southern Rwanda, in 1994, the 54 years old clergy, is accused of genocide, murder and extermination, crimes to which he has pleaded not guilty.

This week also saw a former Rwandan Deputy Governor, Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, pleading not guilty to three counts of genocide and crimes against humanity before the ICTR.

The suspect was brought to Arusha from France last week after his opposition to the transfer hit rock-bottom.


© Hirondelle News Agency