Arusha, 6 November 2008 (FH) - The former head of Rwandan diplomacy, Jerome Bicamumpaka, on trial for genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), requested that his judges "reprimand" the prosecutor, whom he accuses of having deliberately hidden from him documents which would be able to clear him.

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Last month, the prosecutor had already been reprimanded by another Chamber for having kept a certain number of pieces of evidence which were considered to be useful for the defence of the former head of the national police, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana.

Inspired by this sanction inflicted to the prosecution by another formation of judges, Bicamumpaka accuses the prosecutor of having hidden documents from him proving that the testimony for the prosecution of protected witness "GAP" was part of a plot conspired at the central prison of Ruhengeri ,northern Rwanda.

In January 2004, GAP, thus designed to preserve his identity, had affirmed to have killed a Tutsi following an inciting speech which Bicamumpaka would have given during the swearing in of the new prefect of Ruhengeri, Basile Nsabumugisha, in April 1994.

Disputed by the defence, the presence of the defendant at this ceremony had also been reported by another witness, GFA. But the latter later reconsidered his allegations, explaining that he had given a false testimony which had been entirely assembled, with the complicity, according to him, inter alia, of the administration of the prison of Ruhengeri and GAP. GFA disappeared last May as he was in a safe house at the headquarters of the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.

Michel Croteau and Philippe Larochelle, Bicamumpaka's Canadian lawyers, noted, in their motion filed Tuesday, that the prosecutor had documents for a long time in his possession proving the existence of the plot and the perjury of GAP.

For these reasons, the defence of the former minister requested that the Chamber not only reprimand the prosecutor but also recall to the stand GAP, or, failing this, exclude his testimony from the case.

The two lawyers also asked that GAP be the subject, as GFA, of an investigation for false testimony and that the entirety of his testimony in another trial, that of Colonel Ephrem Setako, be communicated to them.

Bicamumpaka is on trial for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity with the former ministers of health, Casimir Bizimungu, and of civil service, Prosper Mugiraneza. All have pleaded not guilty.

Their trial began in November 2003 and the various parties are currently writing their statements of case; in preparation for the closing arguments, which have yet to be scheduled.


© Hirondelle News Agency