02.06.09 - RWANDA/GACACA - GACACA: EX-PRESIDENT OF CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES TRIED IN ABSENTIA

Kigali, 2 June 2009 (FH) - A semi-traditional Gacaca Court from Kigali has been trying in absentia since last Sunday the former president of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfred Mukezamfura, accused of having played a role in the 1994 genocide, reports Hirondelle Agency.
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Mukezamfura, who left Rwanda at the end of last year, was President of Chamber of Deputies until the legislative elections of September 2009.

He is accused of incitement to commit genocide through the means of the governmental newspaper Imvaho and complicity in the assassinations of the journalists Vincent Shabakaka and Vincent Rwabukwisi alias Ravi.

The former Member of Parliament is being tried by the gacaca court of the Nyakabanda sector, in the Rwandan capital.

"On Sunday, we only read the indictment, in front of two or three people who were present. The defendant himself was absent and no witness came", hinted to Hirondelle Agency one of the members of the bench, Benoît Ngarambe.

The trial was then deferred sine die.

In December, the defendant had been requested to appear for the first time. His wife had then presented herself and declared that her husband had gone abroad for medical attention.

"It has been nearly three months that we announced the opening of the trial. Legally we are authorized to carry out the trial in absentia", added Ngarambe.

Mukezeamfura was on several occasions accused during his mandate and attacked by the local press.

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© Hirondelle News Agency