Arusha, 12 November, 2008 (FH) - Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has ordered an investigation into the false testimony of protected prosecution witness "QA" who confessed on October 29, 2008 that he had lied during his previous testimony.

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In its ruling posted on the website of ICTR, the Chamber also ordered an investigation into the allegations of intimidation and bribery related to the witness who first gave evidence on March 18, 22 and 23, 2004.

The decision followed an oral motion filed by the defence of Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, one of the accused in a six-man trial popularly known as "Butare Trial" who asked the Chamber to launch investigation about witness QA's false testimony and contempt of court.

Witness QA was recalled back following Chamber's decision to grant the motion filed by two accused in the case, Joseph Kanyabashi, former Mayor of Ngoma commune and Sylvain Nsabimana, former Governor, who wanted to cross examine QA on additional topics as they suspected that he told lies in his earlier testimony.

According to the Statute of the ICTR, telling lies under solemn declaration was serious offence and punishable.

In the trial of Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, former Minister for Education, a prosecution witness dubbed "GAA" was sentenced to nine months imprisonment last December for contempt of court after being found guilty of giving false evidence under solemn declaration.

The other accused in the Butare case are: Mother of Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, former minister of Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko; former Governor, Alphonce Nteziryayo; and Ex-Mayor of Ngoma Commune, Joseph Kanyabashi.

The trial, longest and largest, started in June 2001.

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


© Hirondelle News Agency