Arusha, 31 October, 2008 (FH) - A protected prosecution witness who had testified some four years ago in a joint trial of six genocide suspects popularly known as ‘Butare Trial', Wednesday shocked the UN Courtroom when he confessed that he had lied during his testimony.

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"I gave false testimony and I have highly regretted since then," said prosecution witness code-named "QA" as everybody in the courtroom heard in complete disbelief, at least for the prosecution. However, he did not elaborate what motivated him to lie before the UN Court.

The witness gave evidence before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on March 18, 22 and 23, 2004.

Meanwhile, the ICTR Chamber is considering a separation of proceedings in the current trial of three leaders of the former Rwandan presidential party because of the ill health of Mathieu Ngirumpatse, one of the defendants.

President of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) during the 1994 genocide, Ngirumpatse is on trial with the former vice-president and secretary-general of the party, Édouard Karemera and Joseph Nzirorera.

In another development, the trial of Rwandan lawyer Leonidas Nshogoza charged for contempt of court is likely to begin in February 2, 2009.

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.

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.

This week the Military II Trial continued with the testimonies of witnesses of defence of Innocent Sagahutu, former Rwandan Deputy Commander of Reconnaissance Battalion.

So far seven out of about 30 witnesses have testified for Sagahutu. The trial continues next week.

About 40 chief justices and senior judiciary members from about ten Commonwealth countries Wednesday visited the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to get first hand information on the operations of the UN Court and how they can draw lessons and apply the Tribunal's jurisprudence to their respective domestic justice system.

The top level judiciary officials are in Arusha for a four-day biennial meeting of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute (CJEI), whose governing committee's president is Sir Dennis Byron from Saint Kitts and Nevis, who also is current President of the ICTR.


© Hirondelle News Agency