Arusha, 3 April, 2009 (FH) - Rwandan lawyer on trial for contempt of court before 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.

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.

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.

Meanwhile, due to a lack of availability of witnesses, the trial of three former leaders of the former Rwandan presidential party, on trial at the ICTR for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, was adjourned on Wednesday until 6 April.

The trial had resumed last week after several months of suspension, without Mathieu Ngirumpatse, the former president of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), because of his ill health.

The second-to-last witness to testify this week, code named "PJ", who lived in 1994 in Kibuye, western Rwanda, and who testified Tuesday in favour of Karemera, the former vice-president of the MRND, repeated what all of the defence witnesses have stated before the judges these last few days that the Interahamwe were not present in the region of Kibuye between April and July 1994.

The prosecutor alleges that Karemera and his two co-defendants, Ngirumpatse and the former secretary- general of the MRND, Joseph Nzirorera, took part in recruitment and arming of the Interahamwe militiamen, the main armed wing of the genocide committed against Tutsis in 1994.

The trial of former Commander of Ngoma Military Barracks, Liutenant Idelphonse Hategekimana, which opened last week, continued this week, but most of the time in closed session.


© Hirondelle News Agency