Arusha, 13 March 2009 (FH) - The trial of former Rwandan Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana which should have started on 26 January before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will now commence this Monday.

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According to the ICTR Spokesman the trial will be presided over by the Madagascan Judge, Arlette Ramaons and flank by two other judges; Jordanian Taghrid Hikmet and Tanzanian Joseph Masanche.

On January 26, the same day that the trial should have opened, the Cameroonian Judge Florence Rita Arrey, who was to preside over the Chamber, stepped down compelling the trial to be adjourned sine die.

Mrs. Arrey had just realized, at the last minute, that she had already decided, within the framework of another trial, on Hategekimana's actions in 1994.

Accused of genocide, complicity to genocide, murder and rape, the officer who commanded the small military camp of Ngoma, in Butare (southern Rwanda) in 1994, is notably accused of personally directing murderous attacks against Tutsis and committing rapes.

At the time of adjournment six out of 24 prosecution witnesses scheduled to testify had already been at the headquarters of the Tribunal. They all returned to Rwanda, ready to return after the re-composition of the Chamber.

A native of Mugina, in the former prefecture of Gitarama (central Rwanda), Hategekimana, who has pleaded not guilty, is part of the five defendants that the ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, sought in vain to have them tried by Rwandan courts.

The prosecution is led in the Hategekimana case by the Cameroonian William Egbe, while the Togolese Ahlonko Dovi leads the defence team.


© Hirondelle News Agency