Arusha, May 5, 2010 (FH) - The defence testimony of Rwanda genocide-convict Col. Theoneste Bagosora which was to start on Wednesday has been pushed to Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), reports Hirondelle Agency.

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The postponement was necessitated because of delayed arrival of Raphael Constant, Bagosora's French  lead Counsel.   

Bagosora is considered the master-mind of the 1994 genocide and was sentenced to life jail by the UN Tribunal in December 2008 for his role in the 1994 genocide. He has lodged an appeal.

Bagosora will testify for the defence of Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of MRND, then Rwandan ruling party.

Nzirorera's Co-counsel Patrick Nimy Mayidika also informed the Chamber that other witnesses who have been lined up would also testify next week.

Between Monday and Wednesday, three defence witnesses have testified, including the lone woman facing genocide charges before the Tribunal, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Minister of Family and Woman Affairs, and two former army officers in Rwandan Armed Forces, Lt. Col. Ephrem Setako and Lt. Samwel Imanishimwe.

Nyiramasuhuko had briefly testified that the MRND was a party of unity and peace and could have not, therefore, encouraged the killings of people whereas Setako told the Tribunal that he neither attended nor chaired any political meeting at Nzirorera's mother house at Mukingo Commune.

Imanishimwe, in his part, denied conspiring with Nzirorera and his co-accused to form joint criminal enterprises.

In the trial, Nzirorera is jointly tried with his co-top MRND President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his Vice-President Edouard Karemera with crimes committed by members of their party. The prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party then in power in 1994.


© Hirondelle News Agency