Arusha, 06 March, 2009 (FH) - The former Vice President of the then ruling party in Rwanda (MRND), Edouard Karemera, will testify in his own defence on May 18 before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), reports Hirondelle Agency.

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The trial was adjourned on Tuesday.  The defendant Karemera has already called 32 defence witnesses before the Chamber, would start to testify on his own defence.

When the trial resumes, Karemera is expected to call his eight remaining witnesses. All three accused in the trial have denied genocide and crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, the third recalled protected prosecution witness in a trial against former Secretary General of MRND, Joseph Nzirorera, Tuesday flabbergasted the Chamber when he spent less than two minutes to respond to the defence questions.

Peter Robinson, Canadian lead defence counsel for the accused asked protected witness ‘'AWD'' whether he knew one Rwandan, Jean Pierre Turatsinze who allegedly  worked for MRND party and at the same time worked for the invading Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) in 1994, now ruling party in Rwanda.

‘'I have no information in that respect, this is the first time I am hearing it from you,'' responded the witness prompting counsel Robinson to tell the Chamber that he had no further questions, leaving court officers bemused. 

Earlier two other recalled protected witnesses namely GBU and HH gave their evidence before Trial Chamber III presided by Judge Dennis Byron from St. Kitts and Nevis.

Other accused in this trial include former president of the party, Mathieu Ngirumpatse confined to bed in Nairobi since August 2008 forcing the trial to continue in his absence.

He had sought for temporary release to be able to seek medical treatment in a European country, but the request was rejected.

Seized of the case, the Appeal Chamber ordered that the request be reconsidered by the same Chamber. The decision is yet to be rendered.

The proceedings in the case began on 19 September 2005. The prosecution rested its case on 4 December 2007 and on April 7, 2008 Karemera fielded his first defence witness.


© Hirondelle News Agency