05.09.08 - RWANDA/JUSTICE - KIGALI: EX-RWANDAN JUSTICE MINISTER'S TRIAL ADJOURNED TO TUESDAY

Kigali, 5 September 2008 (FH) - The trial of Ms Agnes Ntamabyariro, former Rwandan Minister for Justice during the 1994 genocide, resumed Friday before being adjourned to Tuesday to allow the Chamber to render a decision on motions filed by the defence.
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Among the motion is the request for granting of the bail to the accused, according to Gatera Gashabana, defendant's lawyer, who is also the Chairman of Kigali Bar.

The request for bail, which was rejected twice two years ago by the High Court, will be re-examined by the Court of First Instance, which has jurisdiction for genocide cases, learned the Hirondelle Agency.

"From abduction to the non-legal provisional detention and many irregularities contrary to international justice is based our motion", stressed Gashabana.

Kidnapped by unknown persons in 1997 in Zambia and brought back to Rwanda, Ms Ntamabyariro is the only member of the interim government during the genocide to be tried by the Rwandan court. Twelve other ministers were tried or are on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which was established by the United Nations Security Council to try key suspects of the April-July killings.

The UN estimates that about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

On the question of the safety of the defence witnesses and the right to a fair trial, the defence does not foresee any problems for such witnesses. "The law is there and we are there to respect it. Until now, we have presented our evidence as much as the Attorney's Office. The defendant herself gives her opinion each time she sees fit", according to Gashabana.

The former minister is accused of planning genocide, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, planning and organizing meetings in Nyanza, southern Rwanda and Kibuye, western Rwanda (her native prefecture), distribution of weapons and murder of Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, then Governor of Butare, states the indictment.

From May to July, the trial had to shift its proceedings to all alleged sites to hear the testimony on the spot from witnesses.

SRE/PB/MM/SC

© Hirondelle News Agency