Arusha, 07 November, 2008 (FH) - The hearing of defence case of three former leaders of the ruling MRND party during the 1994 Rwandan genocide which got stuck for two sessions due to persistent ill health of its former President Mathieu Ngirumpatse (61), one of the accused, was now set to continue on 2 February , 2009.

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Other defendants are former Vice President of MRND, Edouard Karemera, who had already started his defence and the party's former Secretary General, Joseph Nzirorera.

The first trial which started in November 2003 was canceled in May 2004 amid allegations of impartiality compelling the case to restart on September 19, 2005.

Meanwhile, 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.

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.

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.

In another development, an officer of former Rwandan Army, Lieutenant Bernard Uwizeyimana, denied Wednesday during his brief testimony before ICTR that soldiers in 1994 committed rapes against ethnic Tutsi women and girls at the Kigali Hospital Center (KHC). At the end of the testimony of the former officer, who currently lives in Congo-Brazzaville, the trial was adjourned until next Monday, for lack of availability of witnesses.

The ICTR will render on 18 December its verdict in the trial of Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, alleged mastermind of the 1994 genocide.

Bagosora is on trial with former head of military operations at the joint staff of the army, General Gratien Kabiligi, former Commander of Gisenyi sector (northern Rwanda), Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, and former Commander of para military commando, Major Aloys Ntabakuze.

The ICTR will also give judgements in the trials of Protais Zigiranyirazo, brother in law of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, on 18 December and Simon Bikindi, former Musician, on 2 December.


© Hirondelle News Agency