Arusha, November 12, 2010 (FH) - Three trials continued this week before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), including that of former Rwandan Director in the Ministry of Women and Family Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Gatete, which came to the end and the prosecution requested for life imprisonment sentence against him.

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In its closing arguments, the prosecution submitted that Gatete should face the maximum punishment if convicted of offences allegedly committed in 1994, claiming that there was strong evidence presented before the court by witnesses detailing about the killers and the victims and also what the accused personally did.

However, the defence sought for acquittal of the accused, alleging that the prosecution has failed to substantiate the charges beyond reasonable doubt, citing several shortcomings including contradictions and hearsay evidence given by the witnesses.

Gatete has denied charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.

Other trials involve former mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda) Grégoire Ndahimana and top leaders of then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, who was the president and his vice-president Edouard Karemera.

In the trial of Ndahimana the prosecution called six witnesses. This brings the total of witnesses so far testified to 15. The last witness continues to testify next Thursday.

During trial of MRND top leaders, Ngirumpatse called six witnesses to defend him. The hearing continues next Tuesday when the defendant will be presenting his defence case. Karemera has already completed his defence case.

Next week, the trial of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware, charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, resumes Monday. The defence is expecting to start presenting its case. It has proposed to field 95 witnesses.


© Hirondelle News Agency