Arusha, December 04, 2009 (FH) - The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Dennis Byron Thursday called upon the United Nations Member States to double its cooperation with the Tribunal to hunt down and arrest the remaining 11 genocide fugitives.

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Addressing the United Nations Security Council in New York, Justice Byron said among the top suspects still on the run was the former Rwandan businessman Felician Kabuga believed to have been among the financiers of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

This week at the Tribunal, the defence of Yussuf Munyakazi's has been granted an extension of seven working days to file its closing brief. Both the Defence and the Prosecution were expected to file their closing briefs on or before December 7. They are still scheduled to present their oral arguments on January 28 and 29, 2010.

Lead Defence Counsel Jwani Mwaikusa had filed a motion on December 1 requesting Chamber I to extend the time limits, explaining he "suffered exceptional and difficult personal circumstances over the last month, and that he has been under considerable stress impairing his concentration at work".

Yussuf Munyakazi, aged 74, is the oldest ICTR's detainee. He is charged with genocide and extermination. The Prosecution alleges that Munyakazi led murderous attacks against Tutsis who had sought refuge in churches in three different parishes in Cyangugu prefecture in 1994.

Munyakazi denies his responsibility for massacres of Tutsis. Testifying in his own defence in October, he said  : "It never happened ! Had I wanted to kill Tutsis, I would have started in Bugarama, my hometown". He also claimed  that he had actually hidden Tutsis under his roof.

The prosecution case of the former Minister for Youth Callixte Nzabonimana continued this week mostly in closed sessions.

Next week, the Chamber will be in Rwanda for three days beginning December 8, for the hearing of evidence from a sick witness, who can't  travel to the Tribunal's seat in Arusha to give testimony. Meanwhile the former Rwandan Deputy Governor, Dominique Ntawukulilyayo will testify for his own defence next Tuesday, December 8, before the Tribunal.


© Hirondelle News Agency