Arusha, 26 August, 2008 (FH) - Genocide accused former militia leader, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, 38 , has asked for termination of legal proceedings against him because of unreasonable delays to try him before the International Criminal for Rwanda (ICTR), reports Hirondelle Agency.

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Ntahobali who has been on trial with his mother, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, a former minister during the 1994 genocide, and four other high ranking government officials originating from the Butare region, for more than seven years, has complained in his motion filed last Friday about "exorbitant and unreasonable delays, which are the fault of the prosecutor, the ICTR in general, as well as the United Nations and are not at all justified".

"Only the end of the proceedings against him represents a fair solution", claims Ntahobali's lead defence counsel, Norman Marquis, in the 39-page motion, posted on the ICTR website.

Consequently, the Canadian lawyer has urged the Chamber "to order his [Ntahobali's] immediate release and for the ICTR authorities to take charge of him while waiting for a host country.

Marquis points out that his client was arrested on 23 July 1997, adding that the judgement was not expected before the second half of 2009.

He reminded that the delay of the procedures was inextricably related to the right to a fair trial, an internationally recognized notion.

The Chamber presided by the Tanzanian Judge, William Hussein Sekule, has yet to render its decision over the motion.

The trial, which is the longest and largest before the UN Court, began in June 2001.

Ntahobali, accused in particular of rapes of Tutsi women in 1994 on the orders of his mother, has claimed his innocence, like his co-defendants.

The trial is currently hearing the testimonies of the witnesses of the last defendant, the former mayor of Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje.


© Hirondelle News Agency