Arusha, October 15, 2010 (FH) -The death of genocide-convict, Georges Rutaganda, and resumption of trial of former Rwandan Youth Minister, Callixte Nzabonimana, were major events which featured at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week.

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The ICTR published a statement, detailing that Rutaganda, who was Second Vice-President of the MRND National Committee of Interahamwe militiamen, died following ‘'sudden complication of long illness" in Benin where he was serving his life imprisonment sentence.

The deceased (52) born in Gitarama prefecture, Central Rwanda, was convicted of genocide and other crimes against humanity on December 6, 1999. His appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed on May 26, 2003.

Rutaganda is a second genocide-convict to die in Benin while serving penalty, preceded by Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, founding leader of the hate Radio, RTLM, during genocide. He passed away on April 25, 2010.

In his trial, Nzabonimana called two witnesses, including Leoncie Bongwa, the wife of former Rwandan Minister for Transport and Communications Andre Ntagerura, who is languishing in a safe house in Arusha despite of his acquittal.

She backed up Nzabonimana's defence of alibi, saying he was at the French Embassy in Kigali between April 7and 12, 1994, in rebuttal of prosecution claims that within that period he was busy organizing killings of Tutsis in his native commune of Nyabikenke, Gitarama prefecture.

She insisted in her testimony that Nzabonimana never left the embassy in the period in question.  The trial continues Monday.

Next week, the trial of two former MRND top officials, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera resumes Monday. Ngirumpatse, then president of the party, will continue presenting his defence case. He has so far called 15 out of 35 witnesses expecting to testify in his favour. Karemera has already presented his defence case.

Furthermore, the Appeals Chamber is expecting to deliver two judgements in cases of genocide-convicts Callixte Kalimanzira and Priest Emmanuel Rukundo and conduct hearing of appeal involving Lieutenant-Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi.


© Hirondelle News Agency