Arusha, 13 February 2009 (FH) - A trial attorney of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Thursday urged a life sentence on Catholic Priest, Hormisdas Nsengimana, for his role in the 1994 genocide.

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The catholic priest, who has claimed his innocence, was, in 1994, Head of the Christ the King College of Nyanza, southern Rwanda, one of the most prestigious schools of the country.

"Father Nsengimana took part in a joint criminal enterprise with several people, the evidence is clear", stated Prosecuting attorney, Brian Wallace.

 "The prosecution witnesses were neither reliable, nor credible, it is the least we can say", pleaded French defence lawyer, Emmanuel Altit.

Meanwhile, the Prosecutor of ICTR Monday said that a Rwandan lawyer, Leonidas Nshogoza, accused of contempt of UN court, deserved severe punishment because he allegedly tried to pervert course of justice in a genocide case by bribing and taking false statements from protected prosecution witnesses.

"These are serious charges, as the accused interfered with this international Tribunal's administration of justice...the offences are serious, first when assessed against the backdrop of the mandate of the Tribunal, secondly when one considers the profession of the accused and his relationship with the Tribunal,'' stressed Senior Trial Attorney, Paul Ng'arua, in an opening statement on behalf of the Prosecutor, Hassan Jallow, reports Hirondelle Agency.

Nshogoza has been accused of having tried to subvert court of justice in the trial of a former Rwandan Minister for Culture and Education, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, who was sentenced to imprisonment for remainder of his life in 2004 and a year later it was re-confirmed by the UN Appeals Court.

The defense case in the genocide trial of the former Cabinet Director in the Rwandan Interior Ministry, Calixte Kalimanzira, concluded on Wednesday after fielding a total of 43 witnesses, including the accused himself.

The prosecution had concluded its case on June 30, 2008 after presenting 24 witnesses to support its case.

Kalimanzira is accused of having brought his support to the policies of the interim government, under which the genocide was perpetrated especially after having used, his influence, to incite the massacres of Tutsis in his native region of Butare.

In another development, the trial of three former leaders of the former Rwandan presidential party, on trial for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, is still at a standstill because of the ill health of one of the defendants, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, who has been confined to bed for several months, was president of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND). Others accused are Edouard Karemera (vice-president) and Joseph Nzirorera (secretary-general).

Ngirumpatse is still hospitalized in Nairobi", confirmed Dr. Marie-Francoise Epée-Hernandez, from the medical department of the Tribunal.

The ICTR Deputy Registrar, Everard O'Donell, has resigned after serving for almost a decade the UN Court, trying key suspects of 1994 genocide.

According to the ICTR Spokesman, Roland Amoussouga, Mr O'Donell stepped down on his accord. "He has resigned for personal family reasons," Mr Amoussouga told Hirondelle Agency Thursday.


© Hirondelle News Agency