Kigali, 10 September 2009 (FH) - The Court of First Instance of Nyarugenge,  Kigali, rejected Tuesday the  defence motion of  illegalising the arrest and subsequent trial by Attorney General's Office of the   former Minister of Justice, Agnes Ntamabyariro, for her role in the 1994 genocide.

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"The trial must follow its course", ruled the one-bench judge, Roselyne Ninahazwa. The trial started more than a year ago.

Between May and July 2008, the Court traveled to Nyanza, Gitarama, Kibuye and Byumba, to hear witnesses' testimonies from the sites of the alleged crimes committed by the suspect.

Accused of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity and defended by Jean Louis Ribert, from Lawyers without Borders and Gatera Gashabana, Chairman of the Kigali Bar, the former justice minister had challenged the action of the State Counsel's Office of illegally arresting her by kidnapping [in Zambia], illegal detention, detention without an arrest warrant and torture, all contrary to international conventions".

The former minister is charged of planning genocide, crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, planning meetings and organization of the genocide in Nyanza and Kibuye, her native prefecture, distribution campaigns of weapons, and murders of Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, ex-Governor of Butare, and the godson of her husband.  She has denied the charges.

Already in detention for ten years, Ntamabyariro is the only member of the government in place during the genocide to be tried by Rwandan court. The rest are on trial or have been tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha set up by the UN Security Council to try the key architects of the 1994 killings.


© Hirondelle News Agency