Arusha, February 11, 2011 (FH) -The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has ordered Rwandan Minister, General Marcel Gatsinzi, to show up on March 30, to testify in the case of Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, warning that any default would constitute contempt of the Tribunal.

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"The Appeals Chamber orders that Marcel Gatsinzi shall be present for an evidentiary hearing on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 09.00 at the seat of the Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania. (It) recalls that failure to comply with the present order may constitute contempt of the Tribunal under Rule 77 of the Rules," it said.

The Chamber has instructed the Registry to communicate its order dated February 10, 2011 to Gen. Gatsinzi, currently Minister for Natural Disaster and Refugee Affairs, who would testify as its witness during hearing of appeal by genocide-convict Bagosora and take all necessary measures to facilitate his presence.

According to the Chamber's disposition, the minister should be informed that if so wishes, his counsel may be present during his testimony. During the session Judges of the Appeals Chamber would first pose questions to Gatsinzi before the prosecution and Bagosora given opportunity to cross-examine him.

The Appeals Chamber ordered proprio motu pursuant to Rules 98 and 107 of the Rules to have Gatsinzi summoned as his testimony would assist in its adjudication of submissions by Bagosora in relation to Trial Chamber's alleged violation of his fair trial rights by failing to enforce a subpoena against the minister.

Bagosora, former Director of Cabinet in the Defence Ministry, who was considered the mastermind of the Rwandan 1994 genocide, had wanted Gen. Gatsinzi summoned to give his live testimony regarding his superior responsibility between April 6 and 9, 1994.

Initially, Gen. Gatsinzi had refused to testify for Bagosora, but later in September 2006, he expressed his readiness, giving conditions that he would show up as court witness and he would be heard through video link. The Trial Chamber refused to consider him as its witness and made no follow up on the other condition.

Bagosora claims in his appeal that he was convicted of speculative grounds that being the highest authority in Defence Ministry he exercised effective control over the army and gendarmerie between April 6 and 9, 1994 and he, therefore, sought the testimony of Gatsinzi for search of truth on the matter.

He is appealing against conviction and life imprisonment sentence imposed on him on December 18, 2008 for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

He was convicted of crimes related to the killings of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian peacekeepers in charge of her security, as well as those committed at several roadblocks in the Kigali area and in his hometown of Gisenyi (North-West of Rwanda) between April 6 and 9, 1994.

Bagosora was charged jointly with three other military officers, Brigadier-General Gratien Kabiligi, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, and Lt. Col Anatole Nsengiyumva of genocide, among others. Bagosora, Ntabakuze and Nsengiyumva were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment each, while Kabiligi was acquitted.


© Hirondelle News Agency