Arusha, 25 May 2009 (FH) - The  re-trial of Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, which was planned to start in January, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), will  now open on 17 June.

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"I can assure you that the trial will start on 17 June", Tribunal's Spokesperson, Roland Amoussouga, told Hirondelle Agency Monday.

Muvunyi, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison by first instance chamber, will be re-tried for direct and public incitement to commit genocide in connection with a speech which he allegedly delivered in May 1994 at the Gikore Commercial Centre, in the former prefecture of Butare, southern Rwanda.

He is first accused to be re-tried at the ICTR.

The Appeals Chamber ordered the new trial on 29 August 2008 after having cancelled the guilty verdict which had been rendered against the officer by first instance judges.

During the 1994 genocide, Muvunyi was stationed at the School for Non-Commissioned Officers of Butare (ESO) of Butare.

Five other defendants-- Augustin Ngirabatware (Minister for Planning), Callixte Nzabonimana (Minister for Youth), Michel Bagaragaza (former head of tea authority), Jean-Baptiste Gatete (former Mayor) and Gaspard Kanyarukiga (former businessman) -- are waiting for their trials to start.

The UN Security Council has directed that all first instance trials must be completed by end of the year.   


© Hirondelle News Agency