Arusha, January 28, 2011 (FH) -Initial appearance of former Rwandan rebel leader, Callixte Mbarushimana, before the International Criminal Court (ICC) was a major event among five reported by Hirondelle News Agency this week.

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During the session held on Friday, a pre-Trial Chamber set July 4, 2011, as date for hearing of confirmation of charges against the defendant.  The Chamber also verified Mbarushimana's identity and ensured he was clearly informed of charges brought against him and of his rights under the Rome Statute.

Hearing of confirmation of charges is held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that the person committed each of the crimes charged.

Another event involved the refusal by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to allow the disqualification of judges hearing the case of former Rwandan Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware. The accused had wanted the judges in his case disqualified for being biased.

The Bureau composed of President and Vice-president of the Tribunal together with Presidents of Trial Chambers, which is mandated to adjudicate such requests, ruled that the defence failed to establish any actual or apparent bias of the judges.   

Following such refusal, the trial will resume on Monday when Ngirabatware is expected to continue giving his own defence.

There was also continuation of trial of Captain Ildephonse Nizeyimana before the ICTR. The prosecution called seven witnesses with one accusing the defendant of playing crucial role in massacre of 150 Tutsi refugees, including orphans in South Rwanda during genocide.

The witness said the accused and other soldiers supervised an attack launched on April 29, 1994, at the Groupe Scolaire in Butare town where several Tutsis were selected and killed later at Rwasave Valley.

Another event involved trial of then officials of Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Matthieu Ngirumpatse, the President and his Vice-President Edouard Karemera. Ngirumpatse, who was giving his own defence, concluded his examination in chief. The prosecution will start cross-examining him on Monday

Whereas the Tribunal adjourned to February 7, 2011 defence hearing in the case of former Rwandan mayor, Grégoire Ndahimana, as per judicial calendar. Since he started presenting his defence case on January 17, 2011, Ndahimana has so far called 10 witnesses among 33 he expects to field.


© Hirondelle News Agency