17.01.11 - ICTR/NDAHIMANA - NDAHIMANA COMMENCES HIS DEFENCE CASE WITH NO GUILTY VERDICT DEMAND

Arusha, January 17, 2011 (FH) - The defence for former Mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture, Grégoire Ndahimana, Monday commenced its case by requesting the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to enter a verdict of not guilty to the defendant at the end of trial on genocide offences he is facing.
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"The testimony accusing Ndahimana of genocide is unreliable and untrue. At the end of the trial, he expects the Trial Chamber to give a verdict of not guilty," the defendant's lead counsel Bharat Chadha said when presenting opening statement for the defence case.

Ndahimana is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, in the alternative and extermination as crime against humanity. The prosecution Chadha alleged has falsely implicated his client with massacres of Tutsis at Nyange Parish in Western Rwanda between April 14 and 16, 1994.

"Defence evidence will show that at no stage he (Ndahimana) had the intension to kill refugees at Nyange church or elsewhere. The Chamber will hear that he was not present at the scene of crime on April 14, 15 and 16, 1994( when refugees were attacked and killed)," he argued.

Upon hearing the widespread of massacres at the church, counsel claimed, Ndahimana immediately rushed to the office of Fulgence Kayishema, a genocide fugitive, who was judicial police inspector of Kivumu Commune in 1994, and briefed him.

After presentation of the opening statements, the defence called its first witness code named ND13 to testify for Ndahimana. The trial continues Tuesday.

Ndahimana was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on August 10, 2009. He was transferred to the Arusha UN Detention Facility on August 21, 2009.  He made his initial appearance on September 28, 2009 and pleaded not guilty to all the charges.  The prosecution called 15 witnesses before closing its case on November 19, 2010

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