Arusha, December 11, 2009 (FH) -  Genocide-accused former Rwandan Deputy Governor, Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday that throughout his public life he enjoyed good relations with ethnic Tutsis.

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The 67-year-old Ntwawukulilyayo, who has pleaded not guilty, was defending himself for crimes allegedly committed in the former sub-prefecture of Gisagara, southern Rwanda.

His trial will continue on Monday. 22 defence witnesses have already testified. The Prosecution completed its case by calling to the bar 12 witnesses between May 6 and 26, 2009.

Meanwhile, the prosecution case of the former Rwandan Youth Minister Callixte Nzabonimana was on Monday suspended for three days to allow hearing of a defence witness in Rwanda whose health is deteriorating.

The trial was adjourned when the 15th protected prosecution witness code-named CNAE was still giving his evidence.

According to the ruling delivered by Trial Chamber III on October 27, 2009, Judge Mparany Rajohnson, a member of the bench, will hear the witness at the current place of location of the witness code-named ‘'RW-42''.

Defence had earlier submitted that the testimony of RW-42 was crucial and unique to their case, particularly because some of the prior prosecution statements referred to witness RW-42 as Nzamonimana's main accomplice and allegedly ‘'right-hand man'' in Nyakabanda commune, where the accused is purported to have committed the crimes.

In another development, the East African Community (EAC), a regional bloc of five East African countries, has been challenged to identify where it considered best could be hosted the archives of ICTR when the mandate of the UN Court closes next year.

‘'A common position for the keeping of archives in East Africa will greatly benefit the region,'' a leading ICTR Jurist , Dr Obote Odora said in his presentation at a two-day annual meeting of the East African Chief Justices held in Nairobi, Kenya, early this week.

The five EAC Partner States are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.


© Hirondelle News Agency