Arusha, 26 March, 2009 (FH) - Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has declined request of the defence of Rwandan lawyer, Leonidas Nshogoza, charged with contempt of court, to add one more witness as a replacement to the one who gave contradictory testimony in court earlier this week.

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Canadian lawyer Allison Turner, lead defence counsel for the accused told Hirondelle News Agency that her motion was based on witness code-named ‘'A10'' who surprisingly contradicted in court her 2005 written statement and the interview she did with her in November 2008.

Following the Chmaber's decision, defendant Nshongoza will now start testifying on his own defence on Monday as the eleventh and last defence witness. The prosecution concluded its case on February 18, 2009 after presenting five witnesses.

Nshogoza is accused of trying to bribe prosecution witnesses to give false testimony in favour of former Rwandan Minister for Education and Culture, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, already convicted for genocide by the UN Tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004.  

At ICTR, a person convicted of contempt of court faces a maximum sentence of five years or a fine of US $ 10,000 or both.

The first victim of this offence was a protected prosecution witness dubbed "GAA "who was sentenced to nine months imprisonment in December, 2008.


© Hirondelle News Agency