Arusha, 5 September, 2008 (FH) - The trial of former Rwandan Lieutenant Colonel Ephrem Setako, accused of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, continued his hearing this week , sometimes while complaining, very long testimonies of people convicted or prosecuted for their involvement in the 1994 genocide.

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In nine days of hearings, only three witnesses, out of the 25, have managed their testimony; and the last of them could be recalled to the stand, depending on the decision of the judges on a pending defence motion.

The current rhythm of the hearings has contrasted with the acquired celebrity, for a few years, by the prosecution in the presentation of its cases.

The Butare Trial, the largest and longest, continued, most of the time in the closed session. The sixth and final defence accused, Mayor of Muganza Elie Ndayambaje was calling his witnesses.

Meanwhile, the Special Representative of Rwandan Government to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Alloys Mutabingwa, has criticized the last week's Appeals Court judgement over former Commander of Non-Commissioned (ESO) College Tharcisse Muvunyi, saying that it lacked coherence with its past decisions.

"There is obvious failure of the Appeals Chamber to be consistent in its decisions, particularly on its failure to enhance coherence with the Court's previous decisions," he told Hirondelle Agency, elaborating that for example in 2005 the Appeals Court rejected the prosecution's motion to seek cure to the indictment, and again is the same Court raising finger over the indictment defects.

"It remains a record of failure to define the constitutive elements of the charge of superior responsibility,'' he added, noting that most of the alleged crimes committed by ESO soldiers in Butare, southern Rwanda, were ordered by accused during the 1994 genocide.

The Appeals Chamber quashed Muvunyi's 25-year-sentence imposed by the lower court and ordered a partial re-trial of his address at the Gikore Trade Centre.

The Appeals Court in the ruling urged Prosecution to ensure that charges against an accused and the material facts supporting those charges must be pleaded with sufficient precision in the indictment so as to avoid any miscarriage of justice or prejudices. The prosecution has yet to comment on it.


© Hirondelle News Agency