Arusha, May 4, 2010 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) calls upon Belgium, Switzerland and the World Bank to cooperate with former Minister of Planning Augustin Ngirabatware in providing documents requested by the defendant's lawyers.

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In three separate decisions, the tribunal states that Augustin Ngirabatware depends on their cooperation to invalidate charges of having diverted development funds to finance the extremist Hutu militia known as Interahamwe.

The ICTR requests Belgium and Switzerland to provide copies of their agreements signed with Rwanda between 1990 and 1994 as part of the donors' Structural Adjustment Program (SAP). The tribunal also requests the World Bank to make available a number of documents claimed by Ngirabatware's lawyers.

Augustin Ngirabatware hails from what used to be the Nyammyumba district, in the Prefecture of Gisenyi (north of Rwanda). He is the son-in-law of a wealthy businessman indicted by the ICTR but on the run, Felicien Kabuga, the alleged sponsor of the 1994 genocide.

The former minister was arrested in Germany on September 17, 2007, and has been in ICTR custody since October 8, 2008.

He is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecutor accuses him of launching appeals to kill Tutsis during numerous meetings in his home region in 1994.

He is also accused of delivering weapons to the Interahamwe militia and of embezzling public funds to finance them. He pleads not guilty.

Holding a PhD in economics from the University of Freiburg (Switzerland), Augustin Ngirabatware taught at the National University of Rwanda (1986-1990) before being appointed Minister of Planning (1990-1994).

He fled Rwanda in July 1994 and subsequently worked in various research institutes first in Gabon and then in France.


© Hirondelle News Agency