Arusha, 20 March 2009 (FH) - The defence of ex-vice-president of the former presidential party, Edouard Karemera, will resume on Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), after several months of suspension.

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The trial has been paralysed since August following illness of the former President of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), Mathieu Ngirumpatse, hospitalized in Nairobi, Kenya.

To resolve the situation, the Chamber ordered on 3 March separation of trial proceedings under which Ngirumpatse will no longer appear with Karemera and Joseph Nzirorera, the former MRND Secretary-General.

Karemera, who plans to call around 40 witnesses, was halfway through his defence, while Nzirorera was still preparing his case.

The joint trial of the three MRND leaders began on 19 September 2005. The prosecutor rested his case on 4 December 2007. On 7 April 2008, Karemera, the first to defend himself, started the presentation of his case.

A first procedure in which the three leaders were prosecuted along with the former Minister for Education, André Rwamakuba who came 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 windstorm, 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 and has been living in Switzerland since last year.


© Hirondelle News Agency