Arusha, May 7, 2010 (FH) -The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week conducted two trials of Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of MRND, then Rwandan ruling party and that of former Youth Minister, Callixte Nzabonimana.

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In Nzirorera's case, three defence witnesses testified between Monday and Wednesday, including the lone woman facing genocide charges before the Tribunal, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Minister of Family and Women Affairs in a joint trial with her son and four others. Her case awaits judgement.

Nyiramasuhuko had briefly testified that MRND was a party of unity and peace and could have not encouraged killings of people. She claimed that she could have resigned if her party had such mission.

Other witnesses defended Nzirorera are former army officers in Rwandan Armed Forces, Lt. Col. Ephrem Setako, who was sentenced to 25 years in jail for genocide and Lt. Samwel Imanishimwe, another genocide convict, who has already completed serving his 12 year jail term.

The trial continues Monday when the highly awaited former Director of Cabinet in the Rwandan Ministry of Defence, Col. Theoneste Bagosora, will testify in defence of Nzirorera in a joint trial involving two other top MRND leaders, President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his Vice-President Edouard Karemera.

Bagosora is considered the master-mind of the 1994 genocide and was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Tribunal in December 2008 for his role in the killings. He has already appeal the verdict.

In the trial, Nzirorera, Ngirumpatse and Karemera are charged 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.

The case against Nzabonimana continued in closed session and only two defence witnesses testified. Eight witnesses, among 30 have so far testified. The eighth witness who started testifying this week proceeds Monday.


© Hirondelle News Agency