26.01.10 - ICTR/KAREMERA - DEFENCE REQUESTS INVESTIGATIONS OVER FALSE TESTIMONY

Arusha, January 26, 2010 (FH) - Defence team of former Rwandan Secretary General of the presidential party MRND, Joseph Nzirorera on trial alongside two other senior leaders, requested the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday to appoint ‘'amicus curiae'' (friend of the court) to investigate alleged false testimony of one of the defence witness.
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The accused's lead Defence Counsel, American Peter Robinson, filed an oral motion before the Chamber after his own defence witness, code-named GAP to protect his identity, gave evidence in court in favor of the prosecution, contrary to what was declared in his written statement of November 18, 2009.

‘'I request the Chamber to appoint an amicus curiae to investigate the false testimony of witness GAP,'' Counsel Robinson told the court presided by Justice Dennis Byron.

 The Chamber also heard for five minutes a portion of recorded audio cassette of an interview between the defence team and witness GAP, where among others, he denied that the accused was present in his mother's house in Mukingo commune, Ruhengeri prefecture allegedly conducting meeting to plan killings of Tutsis in the area.

But when giving evidence before the court, he asserted that he was present.

He also denied during the interview that the accused made phone calls to Mukingo commune on April 7, 1994 but again during his evidence in court last Thursday the witness stated just the opposite.

However, the witness defended his position by saying ‘' I accepted to sign the written statement because of the agreement we entered with Counsel Robinson that he would give me 500 dollars before the testimony and there after another 500 dollars.''

He elaborated that he did not want to concoct the evidence and that's why he has decided to say the truth.

In response to oral motion, Don Webster for prosecution said it was not necessary to conduct the investigation as the witness wanted to correct his position and disclose the truth. 

‘'The witness corrected his evidence. I am not sure if the elements of false testimony can be established,'' Webster claimed.

Judge Byron told the parties that his bench would consider the arguments and make a ruling.

Already one protected witness, known by acronym ‘'GAA'' was sentenced to nine months jail after being found guilty of giving false testimony before  this Tribunal on December 4, 2007.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

Other defendants in this trial include, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, former President of MRND and his Vice President, Edouard Karemera who has already completed his defence case.

The three-men are held responsible for their superior responsibility for the crimes allegedly committed by their subordinates.

NI/SC/GF

© Hirondelle News Agency