Arusha, August 26, 2010 (FH) - The twentieth and last prosecution witness in the case of genocide accused Augustin Ngirabatware, former Rwandan Minister of Planning, will be heard beginning next Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) via video link from Kigali. 

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‘'The Chamber found that exceptional circumstances have been established for granting video link testimony,'' ruled the Chamber's Presiding Judge, William Sekule on Thursday.

Tuesday, the Chamber denied the first such motion for lack of supporting materials but it was convinced by the new motion which was attached with the statement from the protected witness dubbed ‘'ANAW'' detailing the reason as to why he would not come physically to testify in Arusha.

‘'The statement is notarized and gave enough reasons for the absence of the witness,'' Judge Sekule said adding that it was for the interest of justice that his Chamber decided to grant the motion. 

Earlier, Mylène Dimitri, co-counsel for the accused Ngirabatware urged the Chamber to deny the motion on the ground that it was brought at the late stage of the prosecution case and the statement attached to it should have been brought in the first motion which was denied on Tuesday.

After the video link testimony of witness ‘'ANAW'' the trial will be adjourned to give the defence time to prepare for its case scheduled to commence on November 15, according to the Tribunal's program.

Ngirabatware hails from what used to be the Nyamyumba commune, Gisenyi prefecture (North of Rwanda). He is the son-in-law of a wealthy businessman on the run, Felicien Kabuga, the alleged sponsor of the 1994 genocide.

A doctor of economics from the University of Friburg (Switzerland), Ngirabatware taught at the National University of Rwanda (1986-1990), before he became Minister of Planning (1990-1994).

The former minister fled Rwanda in July 1994 and subsequently worked in various research institutions in Gabon and France. He was arrested in Germany on September 17, 2007 and has been in ICTR custody since October 8, 2008.


© Hirondelle News Agency