Arusha, November 19, 2010 (FH) - The prosecution Friday completed presentation of its genocide case against former Rwandan Mayor Grégoire Ndahimana after calling 14 witnesses before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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The chamber, thereafter, conducted a status conference and ordered defence hearing to start on January 17, next year. The Chamber also directed the defence to file its pre-trial brief by December 17, disclosing, among others, the list of witnesses that would be called to defend the accused.

The defendant's lead counsel Bharat Chadha told Hirondelle News Agency later that his client is expecting to call 40 witnesses, but was quick to point out that the number could drop depending on circumstances of their case.

In the trial, Ndahimana, who was mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda), is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, in the alternative and extermination as crime against humanity. It is alleged that between April 6 and 20, 1994, he was responsible for killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the Tutsi population.

Ndahimana is alleged to have planned the massacres at Nyange Parish jointly with several other officials, including genocide-convict and parish priest, Father Athanase Seromba, who has since been sentenced to life imprisonment and prominent businessman, Gaspard Kanyarukiga, who was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.

Another person allegedly played a role in the massacres at the church is genocide-suspect still at large, Fulgence Kayishema, who was judicial police inspector of the commune. In these massacres, the prosecution alleges that more than 2000 Tutsi refugees were killed.

Ndahimana, born in 1952, was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on August 10, 2009. He was transferred to the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha on August 21, 2009.  He made his initial appearance on September 28, 2009 and pleaded not guilty to all the charges. His trial took off on September 6, 2010.


© Hirondelle News Agency