Arusha, December 18, 2009 - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), trying key suspects of 1994 genocide, begins end of the year Christmas and New Year holidays Friday, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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According to the UN Court's schedule, the recess will stretch to mid-January.

The first case to resume in the new year will be of the former three top MRND leaders, then Rwanda's ruling party, known as ‘'Karemera Trial''. The case is planned to resume on January 18.

Meanwhile, trials of genocide-accused former Youth Minister, Callixte Nzabonimana and ex-Deputy Governor Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, have been adjourned to next year.

Nzabonimana's trial Thursday was adjourned to March 29, whereas  Ntawukulilyayo's case may resume end of February or early April.

Ntawukulilyayo was in the dock as the 23rd and last defence witness when the trial was adjourned.

Senior Trial Attorney, Paul Ng'arua, told Hirondelle Agency that the defence would continue cross-examination of the 20th and last prosecution witness, code-named ‘'CNAC'' when Nzabonimana's trial resumes.

Nzabonimana and Ntawukulilyayo are facing separately five charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder. They have denied the charges.

In another development, the United Nations Security Council has given ICTR up to 2012 to conclude the Appeal cases.

According to a UN Press Release issued Wednesday, the Security has also agreed to increase ad litem (temporary) judges at the ICTR from current nine to 12 to speed up the hearing of the trials.

The Security Council has also asked Judge Erik Mose from Norway, who retires end of this month, to stay on to complete judgement phase of Lieutenant-Colonel Ephrem Setako, which he has presided since August 2008.


© Hirondelle News Agency