Arusha, February 04, 2011 (FH) - The hearing of the case of former leaders of the ruling party in Rwanda, MRND, including its President, Matthieu Ngirumpatse is approaching the end before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda with one remaining defence witness.

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Ngirumpatse is tried alongside his Vice-President, Edouard Karemera who has already concluded his defence case.  They are charged mainly with crimes allegedly committed by members of their party, notably the Interahamwe militias.

The defendant who commenced his own defence on January 10, 2011 was being cross-examined by the prosecution for the fourth day when his case was adjourned on Thursday to February 15. During his testimony, he denied that his party had powers to control Interahamwe militias who engaged in the attacks and killings in 1994.

Former Rwandan Minister of Planning, Augustin Ngirabatware was also in the witness box this week for cross-examination by the prosecution. The defence case of the former minister resumed after ICTR denied his motion for disqualification of the Trial Chamber judges on allegation of being biased.

The defendant 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.

Trial of former Rwandan military officer, Captain Idephonse Nizeyimana also continued this week with the presentation of prosecution witnesses. Capt. Nizeyimana is charged with genocide, extermination, murder and rape. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.


© Hirondelle News Agency