Arusha, 31 March, 2009 (FH) - Former Rwandan lawyer on trial for contempt of court at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Leonidas Nshogoza, Tuesday denied that his visits to the former Rwandan minister for Education and Culture, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, while in custody at the United Nations Detention Facilities (UNDF), were  meant to plot false testimony.

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The defendant was responding to questions during cross examination by senior Trial Attorney, Richard Karegyesa who had earlier suggested that Nshogoza made five visits to Kamuhanda after September 2003 although his contract as investigator ended because he wanted to discuss with him on how to plot false testimony.

‘'No, that is a lie. Each time I went there I was given between 15 to 30 minutes only,'' he told the three-bench judges led by Khalida Khan of Pakistan.

The witness also denied that he met protected witnesses "A7" and "GAA" contrary to the protection rules of the UN Tribunal. The rules require prior consent from the Chamber to meet with protected witnesses.

He alleged that he was authorised by his French lead Counsel, Aicha Conde, to take witness "GAA'' to a notary for the purpose of taking down her statement and authenticate it whereas for "A7" was introduced to him by the former using a real name without prior knowledge that she was a protected witness.

Prosecution charges Nshogoza for attempting to persuade prosecution witnesses to give false testimony in favour of Kamuhanda who had already been convicted for genocide and sentenced by the Tribunal for life imprisonment in 2004.

Other allegations denied by the accused included submitting wrong claim form for re-imbursement of  mission costs stating that services indicated were actually carried out though the dates were apparently incorrect.

Earlier, at the beginning of the cross examination, the bench had to frequently remind Nshogoza to respond to questions asked in the straight forward manner taking into consideration that he was also a trained lawyer.

Nshogaza, eleventh and last defence witness, was expected to conclude his testimony Tuesday.  

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


© Hirondelle News Agency