Arusha, October 25, 2010 (FH) - Genocide-accused and former Rwandan minister of Planning, Augustin Ngirabatware Monday revealed that he intended to call about 100 witnesses in defence of his case whereas the prosecution described the proposed number as ‘'excessive''.

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‘'The prosecution called 20 witnesses to prove its case. But the defence intends to call 95. We think this is an excessive number and we call upon the defence to reduce it,'' Prosecution counsel, Wallace Kapaya told the Chamber in a pre-defence conference.

‘'Sometimes we will have a witness testifying on a paragraph on certain facts but another witness can also testify on the same paragraph but on a different fact,'' Mylene Dimitri, Co-defence Counsel elaborated.

Following the arguments before the Trial Chamber, Presiding Judge, William Sekule was equally concerned, stating that ‘' I would like to urge the party (defence) to carefully examine the list to get a clear and precise number of witnesses.''

He explained that the Chamber would make a ruling on the matter later but it was necessary for the defence to look into the issue before the final decision was made. 

The defence case of Ngirabatware is scheduled to commence on November 15, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The defendant is charged with genocide and crime against humanity to which he denied.

Ngirabatware is alleged, among others, to have incited Hutus to kill Tutsis in his native commune of Nyamyumba in Gisenyi prefecture (North Rwanda) in 1994.

He is the son-in-law of a wealthy businessman on the run, Felicien Kabuga, the alleged sponsor of the 1994 genocide.

The former minister fled Rwanda in July 1994 and subsequently worked in various research institutes 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