01.09.08 - ICTR/MUGENZI - ICTR: EX-MINISTER MUGENZI OBTAINS ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS RELATING TO MISSING

Arusha, 1 September 2008 (FH) - The defence of the former Minister for Commerce, Justin Mugenzi, prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), obtained access to documents relating to the testimony, last April, within the framework of another trial, of the witness who suddenly disappeared last May, reports Hirondelle Agency.
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The Chamber, which is trying the officials of the former presidential party, has directed the Registry to transmit the documents to Mugenzi's defence in a decision Monday and posted on the website of the Tribunal. The judges, however, refused to reveal the identity of the missing person.

The documents are transcripts of hearings, including some in closed sessions, as well as about 15 exhibits filed during the testimony of the witness in the trial of three national leaders of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND).

This Chamber had already ordered the Registry to designate an "amicus curiae" (friend of the court) to investigate the allegations of false testimony.

Known by the pseudonym BTH in the MRND case, the witness disappeared in May, from "the safe house" where he was placed by the administration of the Tribunal.

He disappeared just after testifying from 10 to 17 April, in favour of former Secretary-General of the MRND, Joseph Nzirorera, against whom he had however brought strong allegations during a preceding deposition in the same case.

BTH was also on the point of reconsidering, under the codename GFA, his testimony against the former head of Rwandan diplomacy, Jerome Bicamumpaka, on trial with three former ministers, including Mugenzi.

The Tanzanian police and the ICTR security service said that they are doing everything possible to find BTH-GFA, the first witness in the history of this Tribunal to disappear in mysterious circumstances.

ER/PB/MM/SC

© Hirondelle News Agency