Arusha, 21 August, 2009 (FH) - Gregoire Ndahimana, former mayor of Kivumo (western Rwanda), arrested last week in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity is still under the custody of the DRC authorities, ten days after his arrest.

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However the Chief of Press Service of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said during a press conference last Thursday that the accused is expected at the Tribunal's seat in Arusha before the end of the week. ons Organization sion in the

The defendant is accused of having played a role in organizing the killings of mostly ethnic Tutsis who had sought refugee at the Nyange Parish Church, Kibuye prefecture, western Rwanda between April 6 and April 20, 1994.

Meanwhile, the former attorney with the Tribunal, Sri Lankan Shymlal Rajapaksa, 42, who was found dead in his residence last week in Arusha, could have died from natural causes, according to the Spokesman of the Tribunal, Roland Amoussouga.   

Amoussouga explained that according to the police preliminary report and medical investigations, it was revealed that the death could be the result of natural causes. He ruled out so far the possibility of assault.  However he stated to be "awaiting for the complementary results of the toxicological test and other examinations to determine with more precision the exact cause of his death."

According to the police commander in Arusha, Basilio Matei, Rajapaksa's body was found on the ground in his residence on 12 August, bleeding from the mouth and nose.

Finally, next Monday the Tribunal resumes its activities after a mid-year judicial recess which started last month.

The court will resume with the retrial case of the former Rwandan military officer, Lt. Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi who would start presenting his defence witnesses.

The accused was earlier found guilty of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and other inhuman acts by the court of first instance and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on September 12, 2006 but the penalty was cancelled by the Appeal Court and ordered a retrial on one count.

The appellate judges ordered a new trial for direct and public incitement to commit genocide on August 29, 2008 particularly on the speech made by the accused at the Gikore commercial centre in Kibuye prefecture in May, 1994 which was allegedly incited Hutus to kill Tutsis.

During the mass slaughter, Lt. Col. Muvunyi was the Director of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Defence.


© Hirondelle News Agency