Arusha, January 26, 2011 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday denied the motion filed by the defence of former Rwandan Minister of Planning, Augustin Ngirabatware, demanding disqualification of judges hearing the case.

1 min 25Approximate reading time

‘'The Bureau finds that the Defence has failed to establish any actual or apparent bias of the Trial Chamber Judges, (William Hussein ) Sekule, (Solomy Balungi) Bossa and (Mparany) Rajohnson,'' part of the ruling reads. The bureau, which is competent for handling such motions, is composed of the President and Vice-president of the ICTR, together with the Presidents of its trial chambers.

The ruling signed Tuesday elaborated that the arguments advanced by the defence in its disqualification motion whether ‘'viewed individually or collectively'' has failed to justify it.    Ngirabatware has the right to appeal against the ruling.

The former minister, who was supposed to continue testifying on his own defence at the resumption of the case on January 17, is accused of genocide or in the alternative conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.

The crimes were allegedly committed in his home commune of Nyamyumba in Gisenyi prefecture, northern Rwanda.

In a 235-page written motion the defence listed nine facts allegedly warranting the disqualification of the three judges which - it states in its introduction - "demonstrates the willingness of the Trial Chamber to entertain every effort to convict the accused irrespective to the merits and the principles of equality of arms.''

The motion also claimed that the Chamber is biased indicating that ‘'it was the first time in history of the Tribunal that a Trial Chamber was forcing an accused to start his trial less than one month after receiving the indictment.''   

After receiving the decision by the bureau, Judge Sekule and his colleagues ordered the case to resume on January 31 for a session which will run up to February 11.

The case of Ngirabatware also son in-law of the former Rwandan wealthy business man, Félicien Kabuga, commenced on September 23, 2009. Kabuga, often referred to as financier of the 1994 Rwandan genocide is among the most wanted suspect by ICTR.  Ngirabatware started defending himself on November 16, 2010.


© Hirondelle News Agency