Arusha, 17 April 2009 (FH) - A total of 17 prosecution witnesses have so far testified in the genocide trial against the former Rwandan Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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Cameroonian Prosecuting Counsel, William Egbe, told Hirondelle News Agency Friday that the 18th witness would testify next Monday from Kigali in Rwanda, where ICTR Judge, Joseph Masanche of Tanzania, would hear the evidence solo. The witness code-named ‘'QX'', to protect his identity, was reportedly ill and could not come to Arusha to testify.

According to the attorney, the last prosecution witness was scheduled to be heard on either, May 1st or 4th, 2009. The trial began on March 16, this year.

Accused of genocide, complicity to genocide, murder and rape, the officer who commanded the small military camp of Ngoma, in Butare, southern Rwanda, in 1994, is accused of personally directing murderous attacks against Tutsis and committing rapes.

A native of Mugina, in the former prefecture of Gitarama, central Rwanda, Hategekimana, who has pleaded not guilty, was part of the five defendants that the ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, sought in vain to have them tried by Rwandan courts.

Meanwhile, two Trial Chambers next Monday will hear closing arguments in two different cases involving seven accused.

This included the longest and largest trial at the UN Tribunal namely Butare Trial with six defendants including the only woman to be indicted for genocide case, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Rwandan minister for Family and Women Affairs.

Counsels will also present closing remarks in the case against former Rwandan Cabinet Director in the ministry of Interior, Calixte Kalimanzira.

And at last the hearing of genocide case against former Rwandan business man, Yusuf Munyakazi,74, will commence next Wednesday, Roland Amoussouga, ICTR Spokesman Confirmed.

According to Munyakazi's lead counsel, Professor Jwani Mwaikusa of Tanzania, the trial was earlier planned to begin on Monday, but he requested to be pushed on technical grounds.

He also said that he has not determined how many witnesses he would line up. The prosecution is expected to present at least 20 witnesses.

This is second new trial to begin this year.


© Hirondelle News Agency