Arusha, October 18, 2010 (FH) - The genocide trial of two top leaders of former Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, resumed Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with Karemera ending a boycott.

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The trial had been suspended since September 30. Karemera had been boycotting proceedings since August 24, saying that references to deceased co-accused Joseph Nzirorera had not been properly removed from the indictment.

Both defendants had also requested for stay of proceedings pending a decision on this issue by the Appeals Chamber, but the Trial Chamber rejected their request. On September 24, the Appeals Chamber also ruled, among others, that "there is no basis on which to grant a stay of proceedings."

Karemera was vice-president of MRND, while Ngirumpatse was its president. The party's Secretary General Nzirorera died in July, while still presenting his defence case.

Ngirumpatse is the last of the defendants to present his case to the court. On Monday, he called former Belgian diplomat Jean Ghiste, who worked in Rwanda and Burundi during the 1994 genocide, as a defence witness.

Ghiste told the court he had met with the interim government in mid May, 1994, at Murambi, in Gitarama (Central Rwanda) where it was based, and he believed it could not have controlled the killings.

"My feeling was that the government was not efficient and was poorly organized. It did not have the power to control the killings," he told the Chamber.


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