Arusha, 20 August 2009 (FH) - Three new judgments, including that of Fr. Hormisdas Nsengimana, will be rendered by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) before the end of the year, according to the Tribunal's estimates.

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The other defendants who will also know their fate before 31 December are Lieutenant Colonels Ephrem Setako and Tharcisse Muvunyi. The exact dates of the judgments are yet to be known.

Accused of genocide, murder and extermination, Fr. Nsengimana, who has claimed his innocence, was, in 1994, vice-chancellor of the Christ the King College of Nyanza (southern Rwanda), one of the most prestigious schools in the country.

According to the prosecutor, who requested life imprisonment on 12 February, the catholic priest, among other crimes, killed his colleague Fr. Mathieu Ngirumpatse.

Fr. Nsengimana is part of the 3 catholic priests detained by the ICTR.

Lieutenant Colonel Ephrem Setako, accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, was director of legal affairs at the ministry of defence.

His charges relate to massacres committed in Kigali and in his native prefecture of Ruhengeri (northern Rwanda) in 1994.

In this case, the prosecutor rested his case on 22 April while the defence did so on 26 June.

In the Nsengimana trial, as in that of Setako, the Chamber is presided by Norwegian Judge Erik Mose.

The case of Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi in particular  is so far the first at ICTR to be re-tried.

In this new trial, his charges relate to a speech he made one afternoon towards the end of May 1994 at the commercial centre of Gikore, in the Nyaruhengeri commune, in the prefecture of Butare (southern Rwanda).

According to the prosecutor, the message was interpreted  exclusively by Hutu audience as a call to exterminate the few Tutsis who were still alive in the region, an issue being contested by the defendant.

The prosecutor rested his case on 22 June and the defence case, which should not last more than a week, opens on Monday.


© Hirondelle News Agency