Arusha, 6 March 2009 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has granted prosecution's motion to separate the ailing  genocide-accused, former President of then ruling National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), Mathieu Ngirumpatse, from the joint  trial of his two other colleagues.

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The case dubbed as "Karemera Trial" has been held back since August, 2008 because of the illness of the former MRND President, reports Hirondelle Agency.

The 70-year-old Ngirumpatse has been confined to bed for months now in a Nairobi hospital. The two other accused in the joint trial are: Edouard Karemera, ex MRND vice-president, and Joseph Nzirorera, Ex- Secretary General of the party.

In a decision whose copy was obtained Thursday by Hirondelle, the Chamber, presided by Judge Dennis Byron, has ordered that the proceedings against Ngirumpatse be separated from the trial.

The Chamber has also directed that Karemera and Nzirorera's joint trial resume on 23 March with testimony of the witnesses of the former MRND Vice-President.

In their vain attempts to get the trial out of the impasse, the judges also often consulted with the official doctor of the Tribunal, Dr. Marie-Françoise Epée Hernandez, who was even sometimes summoned to answer the questions of the parties and the judges.

In her report on 27 February to the tribunal, the doctor indicated that Ngirumpatse's health condition required six more months of treatment.

The trial of the three MRND leaders began on 19 September 2005. The prosecutor rested its case on 4 December 2007. On 7 April 2008, Karemera was the first to start presenting his defence case.

A first trial in which the three leaders were prosecuted alongside the former minister for education, André Rwamakuba, who was from another party, was cancelled in September 2004 because of the appearance of bias from one of the judges, the Senegalese Andrésia Vaz.

In the calamity, the prosecutor had asked and obtained in February 2005 a separate trial for the officials of the former presidential party. Tried alone, Rwamakuba was acquitted in September 2006.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has re-appointed 59-year-old Senegalese Adama Dieng,as Registrar of ICTR for the third term of four years beginning March, 2009.

He was appointed for the first four-year term on March 28, 2001 and his contract was subsequently renewed at the end of February, 2005.

‘'This re-appointment is the re-affirmation of Dieng's able leadership and continued efforts to enhance the efficiency of the administration of the Tribunal. especially at this juncture of its completion strategy,'' stated a statement issued by ICTR Press and Public Affairs unit.

Before joining the Tribunal, Dieng, held various positions in Senegal, including the Registrar of the Regional and Labour Courts in 1973 and then served as Registrar of the Supreme Court of Senegal for six years.

In 1982 Dieng joined the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva where he served successively as Legal Officer for Africa, Executive Secretary and from 1990 to May 2000 as Secretary General. While holding that post, Mr Dieng was appointed UN Independent Expert for Haiti in 1995.


© Hirondelle News Agency