Arusha, 13 October 2008 (FH) - As his trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is drawing to an end, former Chief of Staff of National Police (Gendarmerie), General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, has requested to recall to the stand 18 prosecution witnesses, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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The former head of gendarmerie, who has already rested his case, in addition wants to call 12 defence witnesses. He is defended by Christopher Black (Canada) and Vincent Lurquin (Belgium)

The motion follows a decision rendered on 22 September and, in which the judges reprimanded the prosecutor, reproaching him for having kept to himself, without communicating it to the defendants, evidence which could be useful to them in their defence.

The Chamber also authorized the defence teams to ask to recall prosecution witnesses or to call additional witnesses in the light of the contents of these documents which the prosecutor received order to give to the interested parties.

"The evidence contained in the declarations recently communicated, refute all the allegations of the indictment and set aside any possibility of conviction of Ndindiliyimana,'' wrote the lawyers in their motion posted on the website of the ICTR.

Concerning the 18 witnesses which are being asked to be recalled, the defence, which indicates not to have faith in "the integrity" of the prosecutor, insists that the latter no longer come into contact with them.

No identity was provided concerning these witnesses who are all designated in the motion by pseudonyms.

Also prosecuted in the case is the former Chief of Staff of Army, General Augustin Bizimungu, has, for his part, requested to add two witnesses to his list. The two Generals are on trial with the former commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion, Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemenye and Captain Innocent Sagahutu, who commanded a squadron of this elite unit.

Prosecuted for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the four officers have pleaded not guilty. The three high ranking officers have in theory rested their cases, whereas Captain Sagutu is expected to start calling his witnesses beginning next Monday.

The trial began in September 2004 before a Chamber presided by Judge Joseph Anoka de Silva (Sri Lanka).


© Hirondelle News Agency