Arusha, June 1st, 2010 (FH) - According to its calendar released on Tuesday, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will render its verdict in December in three trials involving eleven accused, including Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the first woman indicted for genocide by an international jurisdiction.

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Nyiramasuhuko appears before the court in the so-called "Butare case" with five other defendants, among them her son Arsène Shalom Ntahobali,.

The latter is charged with rapes of Tutsi women in 1994, allegedly at his mother's request. Other defendants are two former Butare prefects, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo, as well as the former mayor of Ngoma, Joseph Kanyabashi, and the former mayor of Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje.

The "Butare trial" opened in June 2001 and closed in April 2009, which makes it the longest-running and probably most expensive trial in the history of international criminal justice.

The case is undermined by a rift amongst the defendants opposing, on one side, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son and, on the other, Kanyabashi and Nsabimana. The former were members of the then ruling party MRND (the French acronym for National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development) while the latter two belonged to an opposition party, the PSD (Social Democratic Party).

Kanyabashi and Nsabimana uphold that the MRND is responsible for the killings in Butare explaining that the ruling party and not local officials effectively exerted authority over the city during the genocide.

For their part, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son assert that the PSD was the most powerful party in Butare at the time.

In April 2009, the Prosecution requested the maximum penalty, i.e. lifelong imprisonment, for the six accused.

Judgment will also be handed down in December in the trial of four officers of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR), amongst them the army Chief of staff general Augustin Bizimungu and his counterpart of the gendarmerie, Augustin Ndindiliyimana.

In June 2009, the Prosecutor requested life in jail against the four defendants.

Finally, the ICTR will announce its verdict in the case of a former senior civil servant at the Ministry of Family and Women affairs, Jean-Baptiste Gatete.  The closing arguments in this case will be heard on July 13.


© Hirondelle News Agency