Arusha, 8 May 2009 (FH) - The genocide trial of the former sub-prefect, Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, opened Wednesday afternoon before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). This is the third new trial for this year.

1 min 49Approximate reading time

The prosecuting attorney, Ibukunolu Babajide, claimed that the defendant was "a true merchant of death". According to Nigerian attorney, the former administrative official attracted his Tutsi employees in the killing trap, promising food and protection only to meet their deaths on Kabuye Hill, Butare, southern Rwanda..

The first witness for the prosecution, indicated by the pseudonym "AZN", then took a seat on the stand.

Meanwhile, the prosecution rested its case on Monday in the trial of Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity.

"We rested our case yesterday (Monday) at the end of the testimony of the 20th witness who testified via videoconference from Kigali", Cameroonian William Egbe, who heads the prosecution team, told Hirondelle Agency Tuesday.

The proceedings have been deferred to 22 June, the date of the opening of the defence case, he added.

The lieutenant, who commanded a small military camp in southern Rwanda in 1994, has been on trial since 16 March. He was among five defendants that the ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, sought in vain to transfer to Rwandan courts.

In another development, the fourth defence witness in the trial of the former Rwandan military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ephrem Setako, Wednesday denied that there were killings at the Mkamira military camp in Ruhengeri prefecture, northern Rwanda in 1994.

Led in examination-in-chief by American lead defence counsel for the accused, Prof. Lennox Hinds, the witness code-named ‘'NBO'' for security reasons, also denied that dogs ate corpses as alleged by the prosecution.

Lt. Col Setako is facing six charges including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He has denied the charges. The trial continues Thursday.

The trial of  former Vice President of the then ruling party in Rwanda (MRND), Edouard Karemera, will testify in his own defence on May 18 before ICTR. The trial was adjourned on Tuesday.  The defendant Karemera has already called 32 defence witnesses. 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.

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