Arusha, 07 October, 2009 (FH) - Unlike other defendants at the International Criminal tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) who would testify on their own defence at the end of their cases, former Rwandan military officer Lieutenant Idelphonse Hategekimana did not take the witness stand to conclude his defence case.

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Lead defence counsel, Ahlonko Dovi from Togo told Trial Chamber II, presided by Judge Arlette Ramaroson from Madagascar, that the defence team was satisfied with the witnesses presented and had no plan to field Hategekimana to testify for his own defence.

The prosecution concluded its case on May 4, after presenting 20 witnesses and the defence rested its case after fielding the same number of witnesses.

The Chamber later ordered the prosecution to present its written closing brief by December 7, 2009 whereas the defence should do the same by January 15, 2010.

Judge Ramaroson set end of February 2010 as tentative time for the oral closing arguments.

The Chamber also scheduled to visit sites in Rwanda between November 2 and 6, 2009.

A native of Mugina, in the former prefecture of Gitarama (central Rwanda), Hategekimana pleaded not guilty to five charges leveled against him. He is part of the five accused that the ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, sought in vain to transfer to Rwandan courts.

The officer who commanded the small military camp of Ngoma, in Butare (southern Rwanda) in 1994, is  charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.

This trial started on March 16, 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency