Arusha, October 08, 2010 (FH) - Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR) postponed the opening of genocide-accused Captain Ildephonse Nizeyimana's trial - previously scheduled for November 1 - to January 17, next year.

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On his third initial appearance before the Tribunal on Thursday, the accused pleaded not guilty to six charges including genocide and extermination, murder and rape as a crimes against humanity, murder as violation of article 3 common to Geneva convention and rape as a violation of article 3 of the statute.

‘'I plead not guilty your honour,'' responded Captain Nizeyimana as the Presiding Judge, Lee Muthoga read the charges one after another and asked how he would plead.

The defendant was second in command in charge of intelligence and military operations of the Non-commissioned Officers School (ESO) in the southern town of Butare.

‘'From on or about 20 April, 1994, Idelphonse Nizeyimana authorized, ordered or instigated soldiers from the FAR, ESO, Ngoma Camp and Butare Gendarmerie Camp, and Interahamwe, who were the members of the joint criminal enterprise (...) to kill many civilians identified as Tutsis at Butare Hospital,'' stated part of the amended indictment.

The indictment also alleged that he made a similar order to kill many Tutsi civilians at Butare University with words to the effect that ‘'no Tutsi should remain.''

Prosecution Counsel Drew White told the Chamber that he expected to present 40 witnesses for his case while the opposing team led by its lead defense Counsel John Philpot anticipated to field between 30 and 40 defense witnesses for his client.

Nizeyimana was arrested in Kampala (Uganda) on October 5, 2009 and transferred to the UN Detention facility in Arusha (Tanzania) the following day.

Meanwhile the trial of former Rwandan minister of Youth Callixte Nzabonimana which was adjourned on July 15, resumes next Monday with the continuation of the defence case.

A total of 24 witnesses have so far testified for Nzabonimana since the beginning of his defence case on April 14.The prosecution concluded its case on April 13, 2010 after fielding 19 witnesses. The accused is facing five charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder.


© Hirondelle News Agency