03.09.08 - RWANDA/JUSTICE - FORMER RWANDAN JUSTICE MINISTER'S TRIAL RESUMES FRIDAY

Kigali, 3 September 2008 (FH) - The trial of Agnès Ntamabyariro, the former Minister of Justice during the genocide, which began more than a year ago in Rwanda, will resume Friday with the decision of the Chamber on the request presented by the defence last week to declare the indictment inadmissible.
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The former minister, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, is defended by Gatera Gashabana, chairman of the Bar of Kigali. She is the only member of the interim government to be tried by Rwandan courts. Twelve other ministers were tried or are currently on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Their leader, Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, was sentenced by this Tribunal to life in prison. Another minister accused by the ICTR is still at large, whereas another one was arrested in Germany.

Last Thursday, during the last hearing, Agnès Ntamabyariro, according to an official source within the State Counsel's Office, requested that the judge declare inadmissible the indictment on which the trial is based. "I was kidnapped by unknown men in 1997, in Zambia, and brought back here where I was imprisoned in unknown and inappropriate places", denounced the former minister supporting herself on article 2 of the code of civil procedures, according to which, "the legal action cannot be admissible if the applicant does not have the quality, the interest and the capacity for the form". According to the State Counsel's Office, these allegations do not have any value and do not even touch upon the crimes committed.

The former minister is prosecuted for "planning the genocide, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, planning meetings and organizing the genocide in Nyanza (southern Rwanda) and Kibuye (western Rwanda), her native prefecture, campaigns of distribution of weapons, the murder of Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, then prefect of Butare, and of the godson of her husband", specifies the indictment.

From May to July, this trial required the visit of the court to all these places to hear the testimony of various material witnesses.

SRE/PB/ER

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