29.10.10 - ICTR/WEEKLY SUMMARY - HUGE NUMBER OF DEFENCE WITNESSES SHOCKING

Arusha, October 29, 2010 (FH) - Trials of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware and MRND party top officials are major events which featured before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week.
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In a pre-defence conference, Ngirabatware revealed that he would call about 100 witnesses for his defence, a proposed number described by prosecution as excessive. Presiding Judge William Sekule also expressed his concern, urging the defence to carefully examine the list to get a clear and precise number of witnesses.

The prosecution called only 20 witnesses to prove its case against Ngirabatware. However, the defence team defended the move, claiming that the proposed 95 number of witnesses was proper as two witnesses could testify on a paragraph, but on different facts.

As defence case for Ngirabatware is scheduled to commence on November 15, the Tribunal postponed to November 8 the trial of top leaders of then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, for lack of witnesses.

Before the adjournment, president of the party, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, who was presenting his defence case called three witnesses. Ngirumpatse is tried alongside his Vice President, Edouard Karemera, who has completed his defence case.

The trial of former mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda), Grégoire Ndahimana, who is linked with massacres at Nyange Parish in April 1994, resumes Monday.

Furthermore, the Tribunal would deliver its judgement in the case of former Rwandan businessman, Gaspard Kanyarukiga, who is also alleged to have been involved in the massacre at the church alongside parish priest Athanase Seromba, sentenced to life imprisonment and former judicial police inspector Fulgence Kayishema, who is still at large.

FK/ER/GF

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