Arusha, 27 October 2008 (FH) - Joseph Nzirorera, a former heavy hitter of the Rwandan regime that was overthrown in July 1994, currently on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has requested the Chamber to issue a subpoena for ex-Rwandan Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu to come and testify before the UN Court, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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After having been a minister for several years, Nzirorera, an acquaintance of the former President Juvenal Habyarimana, was, during the 1994 genocide, the Secretary-General of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND).

In a motion posted on the website of the Tribunal, Peter Robinson, lead counsel of the defendant, explained that Twagiramungu, who currently resides in Belgium, has refused to come testify at the ICTR in a trial implicating the former politicians. The former head of the Rwandan government, according to the motion, explains that he had, in the past, testified in the trial of the Adventist Pastor Elisaphan Ntakirutimana because the latter was not a politician.

Leader of the opposition to President Habyarimana, Twagiramungu, was Prime Minister from 19 July 1994 to 28 August 1995, goes back to his rupture with the new regime of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The defence of Nzirorera wishes that the ex-PM appear and inform the Chamber on the reality of the 1994 mainly ethnic Tutsi genocide.

Nzirorera and his two co-defendants, former president and vice-president of the MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, are in particular accused of conspiracy in order to commit the genocide.

Their trial has been at a dead end for two months, because of the health of Ngirumpatse. The proceedings should have resumed on 18 August after the judicial recess, but there has not been a proper hearing since then.

The situation adds to the vicissitudes of this trial which advances slowly in spite of a series of measures taken by the Chamber. The case, known as "Karemera Trial.", started in September 2005. The prosecutor rested his case in December 2007. A first trial in which the three leaders of the MRND were prosecuted with another person was cancelled after more than a year of the proceedings.


© Hirondelle News Agency