Arusha, November 26, 2010 (FH) - The signing of agreement on enforcement of sentences by the UN and Senegal and commencement of two trials involving former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware and that of ex-top leaders of MRND party, were major events which featured before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week.

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On Monday, Senegal signed in Dakar the agreement for enforcement of sentences imposed by ICTR, which was established on November 1994. According to the agreement, ICTR convicts can serve their sentences in Senegal if the president of the Tribunal so decides. Seven other countries have signed such agreement so far.

In the trial of MRND top officials, the Tribunal postponed the hearing of defence case of the party's president Mathieu Ngirumpatse to January 10, next year. Since the start of his defence case on August 23, 2010, Ngirumpatse has so far called 35 witnesses. The party's vice-president Edouard Karemera has concluded presenting his defence case.

During trial of Ngirabatware, the latter continued giving his own defence, claiming that he never left Kigali city between April 6 and 8, 1994 to his home prefecture of Gisenyi, Northern Rwanda, to commit crimes against Tutsis as alleged by prosecution. He described the prosecution's allegations as total false and unthinkable.

According to him, after learning the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, he and other senior government officials in Kigali were evacuated by soldiers from their residences to the presidential guard camp where he stayed until April 8, before seeking refuge at the French Embassy.

The trial continues next Monday. In the same week, Rwandan Pentecostal Church Pastor, Jean Uwinkindi, is expected to enter another appearance before the Tribunal following amendments of the indictment in his case.


© Hirondelle News Agency