Arusha, November 24, 2010 (FH) -The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has asked the Togolese government to provide assistance to the defence for former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngiribatware to meet with its citizen who allegedly possesses information regarding allegations against the accused.

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"The Chamber considers that the defence has identified, in as much detail as possible, the evidence it seeks. Specifically, it requests a meeting with the named Togolese national, who may be able to give evidence about some of the allegations against the accused," Trial Chamber II presided by Judge William Sekule said in its decision on Tuesday ,

It noted that the defence has established that the access to the Togolese resident might be useful in deciding whether to call him as a witness. "The defence has also demonstrated that it has made diligent efforts to obtain the evidence it seeks, and these efforts have been unsuccessful," the Chamber further noted.

In its motion, the defence had claimed that due to the nature of his involvement in Rwanda in 1994, the Togolese national possesses information regarding the allegations contained in the indictment and made by prosecution witnesses, hence the need to meet with him to determine whether it might call him as a witness.

According to the defence, it had made numerous attempts to secure the cooperation of the country and that through exchange of Notes Verbales with the Togolese authorities arrangements were made to facilitate the requested meeting.

"However, once the defence delegation arrived in Lome, it was unable to meet with the named Togolese national for reasons beyond its control. The defence left Lome seven days later without having been able to meet with him," it had further argued.

In 1998, the Togolese government helped to arrest and transfer former Governor Emmanuel Bagambiki, who was tried and acquitted and former Vice President of then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Edouard Karemera, who is currently on a joint trial with the ex-party's president, Mathieu Ngirumpatse.

In the trial, Ngirabatware is charged with genocide or in the alternative conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity. He started giving his own defence against the charges on November 16, 2010.

A total of 95 witnesses are expected to testify in defence of Ngirabatware. The prosecution closed its case on August 31, 2010 after fielding 20 witnesses. The defendant's trial took off September 22, 2009.

The accused is the son-in-law of Felicien Kabuga, the alleged sponsor of the 1994 genocide, who is still on the run.  He 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.


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