Arusha, 1 May, 2009 (FH) The longest and the largest trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the so called "Butare Trial", ended on Friday after parties concluded their closing arguments.

1 min 24Approximate reading time

It  took the parties a total of nine days from April 20, 2009, to wind up their last oral submission before a three-bench chamber presided by Tanzanian Judge, William Sekule.

The defendants in the trial 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 two former Mayors, Joseph Kanyabashi and Elie Ndayambaje. All six accused have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity in 1994.

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

Meanwhile, parties in the contempt of court case of Rwandan lawyer, Leonidas Nshogoza, Wednesday concluded their closing arguments with the defence seeking an acquittal whereas prosecution pleaded for harsh sentence on the accused to deter others from committing such offences.

Nshogoza has been charged for attempting to persuade prosecution witnesses to give false testimony in favour of former minister of Education and Culture, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda who had already been convicted for genocide and sentenced by the Tribunal for life imprisonment in 2004.

The prosecution concluded its case on February 18 after presenting five witnesses whereas the defence did the same after fielding 11 witnesses including the accused.

In another development, the trial of the eldest prisoner at ICTR, Yussuf Munyakazi, 74, accused of killing Tutsis who had taken refuge in churches in 1994, was adjourned on Wednesday to 1 June.

 The proceedings were deferred at the end of the testimony of the 10th prosecution witness, who testified in both public and closed sessions.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ephrem Setako, accused of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, starts his defence on Monday.

A graduate of the National Military School (ESM) and of the Faculty of Law of the National University of Rwanda (UNR), the officer, who has pleaded not guilty, was during the 1994 genocide, director of legal affairs at the ministry of defence.

Also the trial of three former leaders of the MRND will resume next week .


© Hirondelle News Agency