Arusha, February 17, 2010 (FH) - Former Minister of Planning Augustin Ngirabatware on Wednesday asked the ICTR to request the Holy See to arrange for a meeting between his lawyers and the Apostolic nuncio to Rwanda in 1994, Monsignor Giuseppe Bertello.

1 min 4Approximate reading time

Charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, Augustin Ngirabatware  pleads not guilty.

His lawyers want Mgr. Bertello to testify, as they assert he would, in support of Ngirabatware's alibi for the period between April 7 and April 12, 1994.

According to the indictment and to several prosecution witnesses, Ngirabatware was in his hometown of Nyamyumba (Gisenyi Prefecture) from April 6 to April 12, inciting Hutus to kill their Tutsi neighbours.

In a written request submitted to the judges, the Defence asserts that the defendant was in fact in Kigali where he met most notably with the papal nuncio.

 According to the Defence, the prelate could also disprove allegations that their client misappropriated foreign aid money to fund the Interahamwe militia.

As a member of the diplomatic corps, Mgr. Bertello participated in various meetings held at the Ministry of Planning to monitor how development funds were used, Ngirabatware's lawyers support.

The request introduced by the Defence states that Mgr. Bertello only incompletely responded to a questionnaire which was sent to him on September 3, 2009.

When a second questionnaire was forwarded to him, he refused "to provide the requested information and details", according to Ngirabatware's Defence.

The Defence asks the Chamber  to either deliver a ruling requesting the Holy See to facilitate a meeting with Mgr. Bertello or, at least, call upon the Holy See « to cooperate on a voluntary basis » to arrange for a meeting between the lawyers and the prelate.



© Hirondelle News Agency