Arusha, December 1, 2010 (FH) - The prosecution is expecting to call 50 witnesses in the trial of former Rwandan military officer, Captain Idelphonse Nizeyimana, scheduled to take off January 17, next year, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), with some being former colleague army officers with the defendant.

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Senior Trial Attorney Drew White, however, told Trial Chamber III presided over by Judge Lee Gacuiga Muthoga on Wednesday that the number could drop to 40 because there was uncertainty of 10 of the listed witnesses to show up before the Tribunal.

"The prosecution has no intention of adding other witnesses in the list," White said. He assured the Chamber, therefore, that the prosecution would adhere to the schedule for them to close their case by February 25, next year. According to the same schedule, defence hearing is expected to commence on May 3, 2011.

Of the witnesses, the prosecutor said, one would testify as an expert. She is Binaifer Nowrojee, a Kenyan specialist on issues of sexual violence. She will be called for cross-examination by the defence following the admission into evidence of her report, detailing, among others, sexual violence allegedly committed by armed forces in Rwanda in 1994.

Capt. Nizeyimana, who was second in command in charge of intelligence and military operations of Noncommissioned Officers School (ESO) in the southern town of Butare (South Rwanda), is facing six charges of genocide and extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity.

He allegedly conspired with other military personnel, members of the government, political leaders, civil servants and others in Rwanda to work out a plan for the extermination of Tutsis. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on October 7, 2010, in his further appearance before the Tribunal.

Nizeyimana was arrested in Uganda on October 5, 2009 and transferred to the UN Detention facility in Arusha the following day. He made his initial appearance on October 14, 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency