Arusha, 30 January 2009 (FH) - The trial of genocide accused former Rwandan Director of Cabinet in the Ministry of Interior, Calixte Kalimanzira, who was also acting Interior Minister during the peak of the 1994 killings, resumed on Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) after a month's recess.

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Nine defence witnesses have already testified until Thursday out of the expected 19 during this session scheduled to end on February 5. 

The most serious accusations against Kalimanzira relate to the role he played in the massacre of thousands of Tutsis who had sought refuge on Kabuye Hill, in the sub-prefecture of Gisagara, Butare prefecture, towards the end of April 1994.

Meanwhile, six Rwandan witnesses who came to Arusha to testify for defence of Kalimanzira, have complained that they have not been paid their entitled subsistence allowance for now almost about a week from the UN Court.

According to defence counsel Arthur Vercken, each unprotected witness was entitled to 130 US dollars per day. Justice Dennis Byron, presiding judge, has directed the Registry to ensure that the matter was addressed satisfactorily.

Following the heated debate, Counsel Vercken told Hirondelle Agency, each of the witness were given an advance of $100 on Wednesday.

In another development, the proceedings went in reverse Wednesday at ICTR in the trial of Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, which should have started Monday. Kenyan Judge Lee Muthoga entered the court room in the middle of the morning to announce that he would preside a "status conference" intended to lift the last obstacles to the opening of the proceedings, after the withdrawal Monday of Cameroonian Judge Florence Rita Arrey.

Accused of genocide, complicity to commit genocide, murder and rapes, this officer, who commanded the small military camp of Ngoma, in the town of Butare, southern Rwanda, in 1994, is accused of having personally directed murderous attacks against Tutsis and committed rapes.

The hearing was deferred to a date which will be communicated to the parties at a later date.

A native of Mugina, in the former prefecture of Gitarama ,central Rwanda, Hategekiman, who has pleaded not guilty, was part of the five accused that the prosecutor of the ICTR, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, sought, in vain, to have tried by Rwandan courts.

On Monday, the Appeals Chamber is expected to deliver its judgement over the appeal of Francois Karera, former Kigali Rural Governor, who has challenged his life sentence rendered by lower court in 2007.


© Hirondelle News Agency