Arusha, 04 November, 2008 (FH) - The hearing of longest and largest trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), involving six genocide suspects, popularly known as ‘Butare Trial' , which was originally scheduled to be completed in November 14, this year, was likely to be extended because of sudden ill health of two accused, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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The two accused- Former Governor Alphonse Nteziryayo (61) and Ex-Mayor Elie Ndayambaje (50)--could not attend Tuesday's proceedings. However, it was not clear what they were suffering from.

"The target is to complete hearing by November 14, but if that is not going to be possible we may have to extend," hinted presiding Judge William Sekule (Tanzania) after hearing the defense teams of the two accused who registered concerns about the deteriorating health conditions of their clients since last Wednesday.

Ndayambaje, who was testifying on his own defence as the last accused in the trial, suspended his testimony last Tuesday following Nteziryayo's sudden ill health.

Nteziryayo through his lead defence counsel, Frederic Pacere (Burkina Faso), asked to be present during the last part of Ndayambaje's testimony as he believed would touch on pertinent issues of his case.

The Trial Chamber accepted Nteziryayo's request and continued with the hearing of a recalled protected witness "QA'', who has admitted to have made false testimony when he testified in 2004, and another witness only dubbed "D-2-21-T" to protect his identity.

The defendants--Nteziryayo and Ndayambaje-- gave mandate to their counsels to represent them during the testimonies.

Others accused in the trial are: Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Minister for Family and Women Affairs and her son, former alleged Interahamwe leader Arsene Shalom Ntahobali; former Mayor, Joseph Kanyabashi and ex-Governor, Sylvain Nsabimana. The trial had started in June 2001.

All the accused have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity.


© Hirondelle News Agency