Arusha, 11 September, 2009 (FH) - The Secretary General of United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has appointed 54-year-old Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov from Russian Federation as permanent judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), trying key suspects of the 1994 genocide.

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The new judge was sworn-in on Thursday by the ICTR President, Justice Dennis Byron, during a brief ceremony at the UN Tribunal's seat in Arusha. The occasion was also witnessed by the ICTR Registrar, Adama Dieng, representing the UN Secretary General.

‘'I am honoured to be assigned at the ICTR,'' Judge Tuzmukhamedov, remarked moments after he was sworn-in. 

Prior to joining the ICTR, Judge Tuzmukhamedov, was Counsellor of the Court, Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, from 1992 as well as being Professor of International Law at the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow of the Russian Foreign Ministry since 1984. Before that, from 1977 to 1984, he was a Research Fellow at the Law of Sea Division, Institute of Merchant Marine.

The Judge is graduate of Moscow State Institute of International Relations where he received basic legal education and was in 1983 conferred a degree of the Candidate of Juridical Science (CDS). In 1994, he received an LLM degree from the Harvard Law School.

Meanwhile, a genocide convict, who was part of the 1994 killings at Nyange Church in western Rwanda, said Wednesday that accused, Gaspard Kanyarukiga, former Rwandan businessman, was physically present during the two-day massacres which took place between April 15 and 16.

The witness, code-named "CBR'' to protect his identity, was present together with other influential officials at the Nyange Church, including Father Athanase Seromba, already sentenced to life imprisonment by ICTR ; Gregoire Ndahimana, former Mayor of Kivumu recently arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Fulgence Kayishema,  ex-Police Inspector; Telephore Ndungutse, a teacher; and Joseph Habiyambere, a former judge.     

In another trial, a defence witness in the genocide case against Yusuf Munyakazi, former Rwandan businessman and oldest detainee at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Thursday denied that two vehicles owned by the accused in Bugarama commune, south-western Rwanda, transported marauding youths to massacres sites of ethnic Tutsis during the height of the 1994 slaughter.

Led in his examination-in-chief by the Cameroonian Co-defence Counsel, Barnabe Nekuie, the witness, dubbed ‘'AMB'' to protect his identity, admitted that the accused possessed two vehicles-- an old Suzuki and a Daihatsu-- but asserted that he never saw or heard youths  belonging to then ruling MRND party ever traveled in these vehicles.

AMB, who claimed to have been physically present in Bugarama between April 6 and April 30, 1994, denied several other allegations levelled against the defendant, including possession of a weapon and supervision of training of the notorious interahamwe militiamen and distribution of military fatigues.

‘'I neither witnessed nor did I hear from others speak about training of the militiamen in Bugarama commune;'' the witness added.

The cross-examination by the prosecution was mostly held in a closed session.  The trial has been adjourned to Monday.

Munyakazi is accused of genocide, complicity in the genocide and extermination. He has pleaded not guilty.


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