Arusha, April 20, 2010 (FH) - The most prominent detainee of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, will testify on May 3 in defence of the Secretary General of the ruling party during the genocide in Rwanda, Joseph Nzirorera.

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A civil engineer by profession, Joseph Nzirorera is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He pleads not guilty.

Théoneste Bagosora was the head of the departmental staff - directeur de cabinet - at the Rwandan ministry of Defence in 1994.

He was handed down a life jail sentence on December 18, 2008, for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Presented by the Prosecution as the "mastermind" of the Rwandan genocide, he was however acquitted of the charge of conspiracy to commit genocide.

He has lodged an appeal. The appeal's hearings have not yet been scheduled.

The witnesses' list also includes historian Ferdinand Nahimana, sentenced to a 30 years term by the ICTR, and Léon Habyarimana, one of late president Juvénal Habyarimana's sons.

Ferdinand Nahimana should be first to take the stand on Wednesday.

Nzirorera is being jointly tried with two other leaders of the ruling party under President Habyarimana, the MRND: former MRND President Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and his erstwhile deputy Edouard Karemera.

Charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, the three men plead not guilty.

The trio is mainly charged with crimes committed by members of their party. The prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials.

The defendants claim that no link of subordination can be established between them and the actual perpetrators of the killings.


© Hirondelle News Agency