Arusha, February 11, 2010 (FH) -  The former prefect of the rural district of Kigali, François Karera, who was convicted in February 2009 to life in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), complained on Thursday that he had never received the French translation of his appeal sentence.

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"It's been a year now and I still don't know what's written in the judgment", he said to the judges before starting to testify in another case, as a witness for the defence of Joseph Nzirorera.

He added that the Appeal Chamber had told him, the very day the judgment was delivered on February 2, 2009, that he would receive a French translation within three weeks.

"Since then, I've written several letters to claim it. But I still don't have the French version", he added. Like many ICTR convicts, the former prefect intends to request a rehearing trial.

Most ICTR judgments are originally in English, a language that a majority among the accused doesn't understand.

François Karera, who is serving his life sentence in Benin, is the third ICTR detainee to be called to the witness stand by Nzirorera's defence, after former mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli and former Head of staff Augustin Bizimungu.

When they are summoned to appear in trials other than their own, ICTR detainees try to call the judges' attention to their cases.

Nzirorera, a civil engineer, is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He pleads not guilty.

Two others former MRND leaders are on the defendant's bench in this joint trial:  former MRND President Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and his erstwhile deputy Edouard Karemera.


© Agence Hirondelle

© Hirondelle News Agency