Arusha, 30 October, 2008 (FH) - The trial of Rwandan lawyer Leonidas Nshogoza, charged for contempt of court before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), is likely to begin in February 2, 2009, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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Nshogoza was accused by a witness of having tried to bribe him in the trial of a former Rwandan Minister for Education and Culture ,Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, who was sentenced to imprisonment for remainder of his life on appeal in September 2005.

ICTR prosecution team led by Ugandan Richard Karegyesa told prisiding Judge Khalida Khan of Pakistan during the pre-trial conference Thursday that his party was ready to proceed with the case since November 23, this year, as it was originally proposed by the Chamber, but the defence had objected to it.

"I need between six to eight weeks for the trial's preparations," remarked Canadian lawyer, Allison Turner, counsel for the accused when asked how much more time she required before the hearing started.

She said among reasons which crippled her from accepting the first proposed date included the fact that she was only appointed as the counsel on October 13.

The Canadian lawyer told the court she would field between 25 and 45 defence witnesses, adding that she needed time to locate and interview them. The other reason, she stated, was that the porsecution has yet to fulfill its obligation to release all exculpatory materials as required by the Statute of the ICTR.

A person convicted of contempt of court faces a maximam sentence of five years or a fine of US $ 10,000 or both before the UN Court.

A protected prosecution witness dubbed ‘'GAA'' -first such conviction-- was sentenceded to nine months imprisonment last December after being found guilty of contempt of court .


© Hirondelle News Agency