09.10.09 - ICTR/WEEKLY SUMMARY - ICTR ARRESTS SECOND WANTED GENOCIDE SUSPECT IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS

Arusha, 09 October, 2009 (FH) - Genocide-accused Idelphonse Nizeyimana, former second in command, in charge of intelligence and military operations at ESO (Ecole des Sous Officiers), in Butare, was on Monday arrested in Kampala, Uganda, by the National Central Bureau of Interpol of  the  Ugandan  Police  in  collaboration  with  the tracking team of the International  Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
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The accused, who is the second to be arrested in a list of 13 most wanted fugitives in less than two months, was on Tuesday transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha.

Nizeyimana is one of the four top accused who are earmarked by the Prosecutor to be tried by the Tribunal in Arusha after their arrest as part of the ICTR completion strategy.

The  accused,  who  was  a  Captain  in  the  Rwandan  Armed Forces, is facing five counts  of  genocide,  or in the alternative complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide  and crimes against Humanity.

Nizeyimana, through the chain of command, is alleged to have exercised authority over soldiers and personnel at the camp and was perceived as a member of the elite inner circle (Akazu) of the late President Habyarimana. He is accused among other things of having sent a section of soldiers to the home of the former Queen of Rwanda, Rosalie Gicanda, a symbolic figure for all Tutsis and ordered her execution, which was subsequently carried out.

Meanwhile, the ICTR President, Justice Denis Byron, Thursday urged national jurisdictions to effectively play their role to fight impunity after the closure of the Tribunal.

Judge Byron, who was presenting the Tribunal's 14th annual report before the United Nations General Assembly in New York, insisted the need  for ‘'continuous and comprehensive fight against impunity for those who committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Rwanda in 1994.''

The ICTR President also informed the General Assembly that he expected judgments in nearly all current pending first instance trials in 2010.

July this year, the UN Security Council extended the mandated of ICTR to December 31, 2010 to conclude its first instance cases.

Sixteen accused are waiting verdicts, ten others are on trial whereas four accused are still awaiting the commencement of their cases.

Some of the accused are jointly prosecuted, causing delays in the hearing and drafting of judgments.

Unlike other defendants at the 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.

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 plans 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  alleged massacres sites in Rwanda between November 2 and 6, 2009.

In another development, a former Rwandan Deputy Governor, Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, is half way in presenting his defence witnesses before the UN Court, where he is facing charges of genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

Ntawukulilyayo, a former sub-prefect of Gisagara in Butare prefecture, southern Rwanda in 1994, has maintained his innocence since he started his defence on September 23.

Maroufa Diabira, lead defence counsel for the accused, told Hirondelle Agency Thursday that a total of 14 witnesses have already been presented and that still 12 more are expected to testify-two in this session and the rest when the trial resumes.

This session is expected to be adjourned next week to mid-November.

Next week, the trial of the oldest detainee, Yusuf Munyakazi, will resume with his own testimony.

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© Hirondelle News Agency