Arusha, June 3, 2010 (FH) - Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Thursday adjourned to July 5, the defence hearing of genocide-accused and former Rwandan Youth Minister Callixte Nzabonimana because it was going for a short break.

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The defence, led by French lawyer Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse, called a total of 19 witnesses to testify in favour of their client in the ending session, which started on April 9.

The second session, which resumes July 5, will come to end on July 15. The lawyer did not specify the number of witnesses he would call in the session.   

During the last session, most witnesses gave their evidence behind closed doors. Among witnesses, who testified in open session, include former Rwandan Mayor, Jean-Marie Vianney Mporanzi.

He claimed that another Rwandan mayor Charles Gahunde of Rutobwe commune, Gitarama prefecture, had compelled him to level false accusations against the defendant to escape from being jailed.

According to him, he had acted under duress when making two false statements to ICTR investigators in 1998 and 2003 incriminating the former Youth Minister with the 1994 genocide.

Mayor Gahunde allegedly urged him to accuse Nzabonimana of having incited to commit genocide in Rutobwe and of having released genocide perpetrators to perpetuate the killings in the commune between April and July 1994, while knowing that such accusations were fabrications and pure lies.

In the trial, Nzabonimana is facing five charges-- genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder. He pleads not guilty.


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