Brussels, March 2, 2010 (FH) - The Assize Court of Brussels agreed on March 1st to a new trial for former Rwanda's Interhamwe leader, Ephrem Nkezabera, who was sentenced in absentia to 30 years in December, last year.

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The court granted Nkezabera's request on grounds that he could neither attend his trial nor the verdict as he was suffering from cancer.

According to the Registry, the Assize Court's schedule was overbooked and a new trial was not possible before next year.

Nkezabera (57) was at the time of the genocide one of the five Directors of the Commercial Bank of Rwanda.

He was also the economic and financial advisor of the notorious Interahamwe militia, which carried out the killings, and a shareholder of the hate-radio RTLM.  According to UN estimates, about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed between April-June, 1994. The genocide was sparked-off following the assassination of Rwanda's President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994.

During the judicial investigation, he conceded to having armed and financed Interahamwe in order to exterminate Tutsis and moderate Hutus. He also admitted that during a public meeting in 1993 he had "encouraged" the Interahamwe to carry out massacres.

He also agreed to have made financial contributions to the notorious RTLM radio station, which openly called for killings of ethnic Tutsis on its airwaves. However, the accused rejected the rape charge.

The Assize Court of Brussels had unanimously sentenced him for war crimes, including murder and rape. It was the first time in Belgian judicial history that rape was considered as a war crime.


© Hirondelle News Agency