Arusha, February 17, 2010 (FH) -The parties in the trial of genocide-accused former Rwandan businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga will present oral arguments on May 20, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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The defence wrapped its case on February 12 after presenting a total of 22 witnesses whereas the prosecution completed its case on September 17 after fielding eleven witnesses.

The Chamber has directed the parties to file simultaneous final briefs by May 7. The three-bench Chamber presided by Judge Taghrid Hikmet has also ruled that it will visit the alleged killings sites in Rwanda in the second part of April.

At the opening of the trial on August 31, the prosecution described Kanyarukiga as having committed one of worst crimes when he directed the demolition of a church in Nyange during the height of 1994 killings. After the destruction of the church, Kanyarukiga and others rejoiced by drinking beers, added the indictment.

The defence has claimed that Kanyarukiga was an innocent person who ran his business in Nyange, western Rwanda - the site of mass killings of Tutsis on 16 April - but never lived there. Most of the defence witnesses testified that Kanyarukiga was not in Nyange when the church was destroyed by a bulldozer, killing approximately 2,000 ethnic Tutsis.

Kanyarukiga is being prosecuted for conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and extermination. He has pleaded not guilty.

Kanyarukiga was arrested in South Africa on July 16, 2004, and transferred to Arusha three days later.   


© Hirondelle News Agency