Arusha, May 27, 2010 (FH)  - Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Thursday adjourned to June 7 defence hearing of genocide case involving Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, in the middle of his cross-examination.

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Presiding Judge Dennis Byron told Nzirorera that his cross-examination by the prosecution would resume on that date because the Chamber was taking a short break as scheduled.

Before the postponement of the case, the defendant reiterated his earlier evidence in chief that as secretary general of MRND he was not managing affairs of the notorious Interahamwe militia, the youth wing of party, and was, therefore, not responsible for its commissions.

"Interahamwe were members of the party. However, the Interahamwe, as an organization, were not integrated within the party. They had their own system and acted independently," Nzirorera testified when cross-examined by prosecutor Don Webster.

This session took off in April 12 and Nzirorera started testifying on May 17. He has already called 46 witnesses to testify in his favour, including ICTR convicts or defendants, like the only woman indicted by the Tribunal, former Minister for Family and Women Affairs Pauline Nyiramasuhuko.

He is expecting to call more witness to prove his innocence. Nzirorera is tried jointly with other two former senior party leaders, President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his erstwhile deputy Edouard Karemera.

Charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, all three men plead not guilty. The trio is mainly accused of crimes committed by members of their party. Karemera has already completed his defence.


© Hirondelle News Agency