Arusha, May 10, 2010 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Monday postponed sine die the testimony of Rwanda genocide-convict Col. Theoneste Bagosora for the defence of genocide-accused Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of MRND, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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Bagosora was earlier scheduled to testify on Wednesday but he failed due to the absence of his French lead counsel Raphael Constant and co-counsel Richard Perras from Canada. No reasons were given on their absence, forcing the Chamber to issue an order directing lead  counsel Constant to show cause for the absence within five days.

Nzirorera's co-counsel Patrick Nimy Mayidika added they did not know why Bagosora's lawyers were absent.

"I [Bagosora] accepted to testify subject to be assisted by one of my counsels. That is the main condition I gave the Nzirorera's defence team. I cannot testify in their absence," Bagosora told the Chamber presided by Judge Dennis Byron.

Bagosora was alleged master-mind of the 1994 killings, which claimed lives of about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in a 100-day slaughter.

Nzirorera's defence case continues Tuesday. So far 40 defence witnesses have testified.

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. Karemera has already completed his defence case.

The prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party then in power in 1994.


© Hirondelle News Agency