Arusha, 30 March, 2009 (FH) - Leonidas Nshogoza, Rwandan lawyer charged for attempting to bribe  prosecution witnesses to give false testimony  before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), claimed Monday that he was never told that there was up keep allowances for the defence witnesses.

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Nshogoza, testifying for his own defence, explained that he was compelled to pay the defence witnesses travel and compensation allowances for the days they would spend for meeting him in Kigali.

‘'I will give them between 5,000 and 7,000 Rwandan Francs (about 10 and 15 US $ Dollars),'' Nshogoza said in response to question posed by his lead Canadian defence Counsel, Allison Turner.

He further claimed that until 2007 there was no such allowances and he used to dish out money from his own pocket to pay his would be defence witnesses.

Nshogoza, who is eleventh and final witness in the trial,  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.  

Normally all witnesses who come to testify at the Tribunal from both, defence and prosecution, their travel expenses, up-keep allowances for their families at home and during the period of testimony are handled by the  UN Court's Witness and Victims Support Section of the Tribunal (WVSS).

The defendant had strongly denied that he offered prosecution witnesses code-named "A7" and "GAA" , money in exchange for false testimony.

‘'I will never promise money to whoever in exchange for false testimony,'' Nshogoza stated during Examination-in-Chief.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

The prosecution concluded its case on February 18, 2009 after presenting five witnesses to support its allegations.

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 the offence was a protected prosecution witness dubbed "GAA" who was sentenced to nine months imprisonment in December, 2008.


 © Hirondelle News Agency