Arusha, 30 April 2009 (FH) - Parties to nearly eight-year old genocide trial against six accused from Butare prefecture, South Rwanda, Thursday concluded their closing arguments before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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The longest and largest case at the UN Tribunal popularly known as ‘'Butare Trial'' took the parties a total of nine days from April 20, 2009 to wind up their last oral submission before a three-men Judge Chamber presided by Tanzanian Judge, William Sekule.

Pierre Boule, Canadian lawyer, defence counsel for the last accused, Elie Ndayambaje, former Rwandan Mayor, alleged that several prosecution witnesses, especial genocide prisoners and detainees were not credible while others gave contradictory statements and evidence.

Some of protected prosecution witnesses mentioned to have given such evidence included TW, EV, QAQ, QAL,FAU,QBZ and TP.

Counsel Boule also revealed another protected prosecution witness namely RV, whom he said was a detainee in Muganza depleted and congested communal jail who gave a total of seven different statements in five years and later transferred to Karubanda prison where he confessed and pleaded guilty for genocide counts.

‘'Such evidence from this kind of witnesses should be set aside,'' charged counsel Boule adding ‘' prosecution has not established beyond reasonable doubts that Ndayambaje is guilty as charged.'' The closing argument which was dominated by several closed sessions was concluded.

Other defendants are: Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Rwandan Minister for Family and Women Affairs and her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, two former Governors, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo and another former Mayor, Joseph Kanyabashi.

It is now up to the Chambers to digest the case and later announced the judgment date. 


© Hirondelle News Agency