Arusha, March 8, 2011 (FH) -The list of defence witnesses for former Rwandan Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware, has been reduced to 60 from the proposed 96, but the prosecution says the number is still high.

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The prosecution had called 20 witnesses before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to support charges against the defendant. It criticizes the new list of defence witnesses, saying the number is still high and unrealistic.

"We are not satisfied with the list as the number is still high. They should reduce it. We are making an analysis on the matter and we will file a motion to seek further reduction of the number to make it realistic," Senior Appeals Council Wallace Kapaya told the Hirondelle News Agency on Tuesday.

According to sources, the defence filed the new list of witnesses that would be called to support the testimony of Ngirabatware following an order by a Trial Chamber that it should submit an updated number no later that March 4, 2011 before resumption of the trial on June 6, 2011.

Ngirabatware, who hails from what used to be the Nyamyumba Commune, Gisenyi prefecture (North of Rwanda), is charged with genocide or in the alternative conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.

He is the son-in-law of Felicien Kabuga, the alleged sponsor of the 1994 genocide, who is still on the run. He fled Rwanda in July 1994 and subsequently worked in various research institutes in Gabon and France.

Ngirabatware was arrested in Germany on September 17, 2007 and transferred to ICTR custody on October 8, 2008. His trial took off September 22, 2009. The prosecution closed its case on August 31, 2010. The then minister started defending himself on November 16, 2010.


© Hirondelle News Agency